Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine
Online ISSN : 1347-4715
Print ISSN : 1342-078X
ISSN-L : 1342-078X
Three in four smokers want to quit tobacco (reference to reassessing the smoking target in Japan): findings from the JASTIS2021 study
Masayuki SugiharaTakahiro Tabuchi
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2024 Volume 29 Pages 28


Background: To enhance tobacco control in Japan, the government set a future smoking rate target (smoking prevalence = 12% by 2022) arguing that the “smoking rate target is expected if only smokers who want to quit smoking now, actually quit”. However, ideally both those wanting to quit now and those who wanted to in the past will succeed in the future. We aimed to re-define smokers who intend to quit and estimate their number. We also examined determinants of intention to quit, including daily tobacco consumption and tobacco use categories (exclusive combustible cigarette users, exclusive heated tobacco product (HTP) users, and dual (combustible cigarette and HTP)) users.

Methods: Using data from the 2021 Japan ‘Society and New Tobacco’ Internet Survey, we analyzed 5,072 current smokers (had used combustible cigarettes or HTPs in the past 30 days) aged 20–80 years. Smokers who intend to quit were defined as total smokers who want to quit now, have previously attempted or previously wanted to quit. Log-Poisson regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for intention to quit (current or current/past), adjusting for potential covariates such as tobacco use categories.

Results: Among current smokers, 40.6% want to quit now, 27.0% have previously attempted and 9.0% have previously wanted to quit. Smokers of over 20 tobacco sticks/day are less likely to want to quit now than 1–10 /day (aOR = 0.79, 95%CI = 0.71–0.87) and less likely to intend to quit (both current and past) (aOR = 0.93, 95%CI = 0.88–0.98). Exclusive HTP and dual users were more likely to intend to quit (both current and past) than exclusive combustible cigarette users (aOR = 1.09, 95%CI = 1.04–1.14) and (aOR = 1.07, 95%CI = 1.03–1.12).

Conclusions: In total, 76.6% of current smokers, were defined as having intention to quit (both current and past). Applying this percentage to the target calculation, Japan’s smoking rate target would be 3.9%, considerably lower than the current target of 12%. The Japanese government may have to revise the smoking rate target. Additionally, we found that the usage of HTPs reduces intention to quit smoking. These insights have implications for setting of smoking rate targets and regulating HTPs in different countries.

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