Background: High smoking rates among nurses have been found in Japan as well as the rest of the world. Nurses’ smoking behavior has been the main barrier against the nurse-led interventions for smoking cessa-tion and the prevention of smoking.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to further develop the existing knowledge pertaining to the possible relationship between stress and smoking behavior among Japanese nurses and nursing students through a sys-tematic review.
Method: Research articles published from 2000 to 2010 were selected from the Japanese databases CiNii and Ichushi-Web, using the three keywords “stress,” “nurse,” and “smoking.” The titles and abstracts of 41 articles were examined to retrieve studies for further review. A comprehensive literature review was conducted on 13 studies for nurses and 5 studies for nursing students in order to reveal findings on the relationship between smoking behavior and stress status.
Results and Conclusion: Most studies used a cross-sectional design and had a relatively small number of par-ticipants, largely consisting of convenient samples belonging to the authors’ institutions. As regards the initiation of smoking, there is no evidence for the effect of work stress among Japanese nurses. Moreover, it is clear that many nurses and nursing students started smoking before entering hospitals and nursing schools. There is a conflict among the findings with regard to the maintenance of smoking behavior, because smoking maintenance may be affected by shift work and the relatively low social status of nurses, but not by other stress factors such as low mental health conditions.