Japan: What’s happened now adult smokers are free to make better choices?

17 Dec 2019 · 3 min read

Cigarette sales have declined significantly since the introduction of our smoke-free alternative

Japan unsmoke your mind case study
  • The decline in cigarette sales increased five-fold following the introduction of our smoke-free product, according to a study for the American Cancer Society.

  • During the same period, combined sales of all tobacco products continued to decline.

  • The findings of a second independent study, published in May 2020, were “consistent with the conclusion” of the American Cancer Society study.

Japan is an example of the remarkable impact introducing smoke-free alternatives to continued smoking could have when it comes to ending cigarettes. 

And for that, there seem to be a number of factors in play: 

  • There are smoke-free products available.

  • Adult smokers know about them.

  • They have accurate and non-misleading information about the products.

  • These products are acceptable to them.

Independent research, significant results

In June 2019, a study conducted by researchers working for the American Cancer Society showed a significant decline in cigarette sales following the introduction of our heated tobacco product in 2015.

According to the study, cigarette sales had been declining by around 1.8 percent per year prior to the introduction, but this increased to 9.5 percent per year following the introduction. 

The authors of the study concluded it was the introduction of our heated tobacco product which “likely reduced cigarette sales in Japan.”

A second independent study, on how trends in cigarette sales in Japan correspond to the introduction of heated tobacco products, was published on May 20, 2020. Its conclusion was the following: “The accelerated decline in cigarette only sales in Japan since 2016 corresponds to the introduction and growth in the sale of HTPs.”

There was a very low uptake of our smoke-free product among never-smokers. We know this because we carried out repeated cross-sectional studies with the adult general population in Japan and with users of our smoke-free product. 

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Smoke-free revolution Japan

Our data also confirms that our smoke-free product is reaching the intended audience – which is adult smokers – and is of very limited interest to adults who have never used nicotine products before, or adults who had already completely stopped using nicotine products.

Of course, the best thing a smoker can do is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether, but the reality is that many do not. The impact a smoke-free alternative can have on cigarette sales in a market such as this demonstrates the demand for these products as a viable option for those smokers who would otherwise continue smoking. 

This is a real example of the opportunity that exists for public health: smoke-free products as an additional asset and complement to measures aimed at preventing initiation and encouraging cessation. That’s in everyone’s interests.