Smoking rates in Japan continued to fall in 2022, a health ministry survey showed, highlighting increased health consciousness and the impact of a revised law to crack down on secondhand smoke.

The male smoking rate dropped 3.4 percentage points from the previous survey in 2019 to 25.4%, while the female smoking rate was down 1.1 points to 7.7%.

The survey of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare classified smokers as respondents in their 20s and over who said that they either "smoke every day" or "sometimes have days where I smoke."

For male smokers, the 2022 figures represent a fall to 1 in 4 people from 1 in 2 in 2001, when 48.4% of men were smoking.

The revised health promotion law came into effect in April 2020, and its measures include banning smoking indoors at many locations and requiring businesses that do allow indoor smoking to install separate spaces for smokers.

The survey showed the rate of tobacco use was highest among men in their 40s, at 34.6%, followed by 32.6% of men in their 50s and 29.9% of those in their 30s.

Among women, those in their 50s accounted for the largest group at 12.0%, while those in their 40s made up 11.6%. Women in their 30s made up 9.0%.

While smoking rates among people from their 30s to 50s were particularly high, almost all age groups logged a fall from the 2019 survey.