Japan is still very much a smoker’s paradise despite being outnumbered by non-smokers, as this survey from Nifty into smoking revealed.
Between the 24th and 30th of January 2014 5,098 members of the Nifty monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. No further demographics were given.
You can even get tobacco tea from a vending machine in Japan:
In Q6, banning smoking on pavements (sidewalks for my American readers) illustrates the strength of JT, Japan Tobacco, and its advertising, which has convinced the public that despite Q5 showing that most people are aware of the health issues, impoliteness and the risk of poking children in the eye outweighs taking said children into a smoky cafe and puffing away; as many a foreigner says, Japan must be the only country where it is often easier to smoke inside than outside. Next, banning smoking in bullet trains would be low-priority for me, as on the main Tokyo-Osaka run all the newer trains are non-smoking, but have a smoking room, which I actually think is worse. With a distinct smoking car, it is easy to avoid; with a room, if you happen to get a seat nearby and beside a smoker, their fumes after their visits will be pretty obnoxious.
Where I’d like to see smoking banned is parliament; then I will know that the government is really serious about tackling the issue.
The first question, and perhaps the most significant question is unfortunately the hardest to report on, as they chose not to add percentages to the bar graph, and although the data was split by age bands, it was not split by the sexes.
Currently, about 14% of those aged 39 years old or younger currently smoked, 25% of those in their forties did, 29% of those in their fifties, and 22% of those aged sixty or older. Whether the lower figure for under forties indicates a significant number rejecting smoking, or just something as simple as a larger percentage of females in the sample (other data suggests that men outnumber female smokers 2:1), I do not know. Regarding those who had never smoked, nearly 70% of the 39 and under group said they were, as had 48% of those in their forties, 37% of those in their fifties, and just 24% of those aged sixty or older.
Furthermore, the report also says that about three in ten males in the sample had never smoked, whereas about seven in ten females had never.
Q2: On average about how many cigarettes do you smoke per day? (Sample size=smokers, 24% of 5,098)
Male Female Less than one 1% 2% One 0% 1% Two or three 2% 3% Four or five 4% 9% Six to ten 17% 24% Eleven to fifteen 19% 22% Sixteen to twenty 33% 27% Twenty-one or more 24% 12%
Q3 was another unlabelled graph of why people quit smoking, split into the four age bands seen above. The top reason was for health or maintaining physical strength, with about 20% of those under 60 choosing that reason, whereas 35% of the over sixties did. Additionally, another 22% quit due to becoming ill, then 18% quit due to tax hikes, and around 15% just to save money.
Q4: What are the merits of smoking? Non-smokers, answer what you think they might be. (Sample size=5,098, multiple answer)
Male Female Cheers one up 46% 26% Relaxing 30% 18% Relieves stress 24% 21% Easy to take breaks 22% 13% Communication with fellow smokers 22% 14% Taxes contribute to the country 17% 19% Something to do while waiting 18% 9% Don’t get bothered by silence when smoking 10% 8% Contribute to the tobacco industry 7% 11% Good flavour, taste of tobacco 8% 4% Good for diet 4% 5% Can enjoy as a hobby 5% 3% Good for the brain 3% 1% Looks cool to smoke 2% 4% Other 3% 4% Nothing in particular 23% 33%
For Q5, people were asked about the demerits of smoking, and the results were presented split between smokers, ex-smokers and the never smoked. 64% of smokers and 76% of the rest labelled the raised risk of cancer, lung disease, etc as the biggest minus, then 50% of smokers, 72% of ex-smokers and 80% who had never smoked the possibility of negative health effects in others from second-hand smoke. 76% of smokers and 58% of the rest said money was a demerit and 50% of smokers and around 70% of the rest highlighted rooms smelling of cigarettes or walls turning yellow.
Q6: Where would you like to see becoming all non-smoking? (Sample size=5,098, multiple answer)
Male Female Pavements 65% 79% Bullet trains 53% 63% Restaurants 53% 63% All of my own home 51% 61% Offices 48% 57% Hotel rooms 47% 58% Vehicles 47% 54% Railway stations 43% 50% Cafes 40% 53% My own room 38% 49% Theme parks 34% 44% Public parks 34% 39% Pubs 30% 31% Karaoke boxes 26% 33% Other 4% 4% Nowhere in particular 13% 5%
Q7: When choosing a restaurant, etc that has separate smoking and non-smoking seats, which of the following do you usually choose? (Sample size=5,098, multiple answer)
Non-smoking, and won’t take smoking if non-smoking full 57% Non-smoking, but will take smoking if non-smoking full 18% Smoking, and won’t take non-smoking if smoking full 7% Smoking, but will take non-smoking if smoking full 6% Will take anything 10%