40% still off cigarettes year after tobacco tax hike

Kyodo

Nearly 40 percent of people who gave up smoking in response to cigarette price hikes a year ago are still nonsmokers, a survey by drugmaker Pfizer Japan Inc. showed Tuesday.

One out of every three smokers quit shortly before or after Oct. 1 last year, when cigarette prices jumped by more than ¥100 per pack from around ¥300 in line with the tobacco tax hike, according to the online survey conducted in August based on replies given by 6,713 people.

The poll found 2,355 people tried to quit, but only 907, or about 39 percent, were still nonsmokers at the time of the poll.

Asked why they tried to quit, 1,756 respondents, or 75 percent, cited the higher prices, followed by 864, or 37 percent, who said they were concerned about their health. More than one answer was permitted.

Of 5,806 current smokers, 3,095 said cigarette prices would influence their decision to quit.

By prefecture, Okinawa had the most people who promised to quit smoking at the time of the October price hikes, some 46 percent of the respondents. Yamanashi had the fewest, at 26 percent. Nagano smokers were the most successful at quitting, with 58 percent still off cigarettes.