The government worked out a fresh anticancer program Friday that calls for reducing the rate of smoking among adults to 12 percent by fiscal 2022, down from 19.5 percent in 2010, officials said.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration endorsed the program at a Cabinet meeting, which incorporated a target for the smoking rate for the first time.
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoko Komiyama said the numerical goal represents a major step in the fight against cancer.
The program, the second in a series, is intended to update the previous one drawn up in May 2007 under the 2007 cancer control law.
The officials said smoking is believed to increase the risks not only of lung but esophagus and bladder cancer.
Four out of every 10 smokers hope to quit the habit if they can, according to surveys. The figure of 12 percent was worked out on the assumption that those who wish to give up smoking will all quit, the officials said.
The government tried to incorporate a numerical target in the previous program but gave up under pressure from the cigarette industry.
In the new program, the numerical target was set to achieve the goals of those who wish to quit smoking — a goal that is difficult for the tobacco industry to object to, the officials said.
The program also addresses second-hand smoke and sets the target rate for nonsmokers who are exposed to smoking more than once a month to 15 percent at restaurants and to zero percent at administrative and medical facilities, both by fiscal 2022.
It sets a target to reduce the rate of those exposed to smoke every day at homes to 3 percent in fiscal 2022 from 10.7 percent in 2010 and also to make sure work sites are free from passive exposure by calendar 2020.
The program also calls for enhancing anticancer measures for employees and children and for building up hub medical facilities for child cancer patients.