Correlation between coffee and cigarettes

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This interesting survey from NTTCom Research looked for a correlation between coffee and cigarettes, in particular how visiting coffee shops might increase exposure to second-hand smoke.

In Japan, most coffee chains are smoking, with each chain and each store having their own particular degree of separation between smoking and non-smoking areas. Starbucks are 100% non-smoking, although those with terraces allow outdoor smoking, Tully’s (home-grown fake Starbucks) and Saint Marcs have enclosed smoking areas with air-tight doors, and Becks and Dotour varies from perfect separation to worst than useless. Most independent shops tend to be cancer-donor wards, although once in a while there are exceptions, so check reviews before you enter!

Note that in Q4, the numbers illustrate that this sample had 17.0% non-smokers, 63.3% ex-smokers, and 19.7% smokers. It looks to me as if the ex-smoker and non-smoker percentages have been switched, or that there was some form of pre-screening, but I cannot see anything in the text to say what exactly is happening.

Here’s a typical small privately-owned coffee shop. The owner probably brews an excellent cup of coffee at a wallet-damaging price, but as you can tell from the ashtrays in the photo, there will no doubt be a couple of regulars in a corner smoking the place out:

Roman Coffee Shop, Matsue, Japan
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Cold turkey most popular way of quitting smoking in Japan

Do you smoke? graph of japanese statisticsNot having smoked, I cannot really relate to the answers in this survey from DIMSDRIVE Reseach into smoking and non-smoking, but I do have experience of quitting alcohol (well, at least going from a daily habit to once in a blue moon) with cold turkey and lots of water only.

Demographics

Between the 25th of November and the 10th of December 2009 (the reporting is rather slow!) 9,638 members of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 51.3% of the sample were male, 11.5% in their twenties, 32.8% in their thirties, 31.3% in their forties, 16.7% in their fifties, and 7.7% aged sixty or older. In addition, 64.0% were married, and 52.4% of the total sample had children.

Q1B at a first look appears to be contradictory to common sense, with men with children more likely to smoke than those with no children, but for women the position is reversed. However, for men this is probably explained by smokers being older, with the non-smoking message getting through to the younger generation who are in turn less likely to have had children yet. For women, the opposite trend is present – the younger generation is smoking more, plus of course as in Q7, getting pregnant or having children is an incentive for women to quit.
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Booze and fags and Japanese kids

Under-age drinkingRather than just another survey on consumer interests, here’s something a bit different, a look at recent trends in smoking and drinking rates amongst Japanese schoolchildren. The multiple surveys were conducted and analysed by Central Research Services.

Demographics

I only have concrete demographics for the 1996 and 2000 surveys; both surveys asked students at about 70 to 90 junior and senior high schools, getting over 100,000 replies both times, representing over 60% of the students enrolled in each institution.

The remarkable drop in smoking and drinking rates is quite surprising, and I must admit to being a bit skeptical about the results on first reading. However, the survey report referenced a paper entitled Decrease in the prevalence of smoking among Japanese adolescents and its possible causes: periodic nationwide cross-sectional surveys (English) that tried to explain the huge drop. Their conculsion is as stunning as the statistics themselves – more schoolchildren have no friends, thus no peer pressure to indulge in such underage vices.

Photo from Don’t fry leeks,please on flickr.
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Smoking in Japan

Do you feel other people smoking is annoying? graph of japanese opiniongoo Research recently published the results of a survey of their internet monitor pool on the subject of tobacco. They interviewed 1,076 people by means of a private internet-based questionnaire towards the end of July, but the survey report does not include any demographic breakdown.

Note that although there is no age, occupation or sex breakdown, given goo Research’s monitor pool there should be slightly less than average manual workers, the sort of demographic that has a higher smoking rate, I believe, so the 23.1% of regular smokers should not be extrapolated to the general population. Similarly, most goo surveys have about 55% to 60% women respondents, and women are significantly less likely to smoke (about 15% versus 50%) than men.

One strange thing about cigarettes in Japan is the uniformity of price; prices for a particular brand are the same across all vendors, from cigarette machines to big supermarkets via corner shops. In addition, the price for a case of 10 boxes is not discounted at all, except for them occasionally throwing in a small gift like a lighter or similar trinket. Beer is similar, although you do get discounts for six-packs, but soft drinks often vary in price as one might expect. Is there some law on price-setting?
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Japanese smokers in denial or just ignorant?

Japan, smoking and healthThe Smoking Cessation Information Centre recently sponsored research to discover what smokers’ reactions to tax hikes in cigarettes would be. They interviewed 1,980 smokers via an internet-based questionnaire at the start of December. This poll is rather timely as there are plans to raise the tobacco tax by a mere 20 yen per packet, to about 290 yen for 20, probably still the cheapest in the developed world.

Of course, people saying they are going to quit and people actually quitting are two different things. All the evidence suggests that raising taxes brings in more money overall, as the rate of quitters never reaches the rate of tax increase. Anything that does something to decrease the number of smokers, however, is most welcome. Simple things like effective smoking segregation at restaurants are not yet implemented here. Even though most restaurants (rather than izakaya pubs-with-food places) are heavily frequented by women (in my experience it’s often over 75%, and quite often, in fact, I am the only man there!) and only about 10% of women smoke, few restaurants are all non-smoking; in fact often it is either 50:50 or no segregation at all!

Also note that at least one in eight do not seem to believe the literature telling you smoking is bad for you, and two-thirds think it’s expensive.
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