19.4% of the adult population are current smokers

There are approximately 21.2 million current smokers in Japan

28.7% of men are current smokers but only 10.5% of women

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Country profile
Data sourced: 2024.   Page updated: 2024-05-23

Smoking in Japan

There has been a downward trend in current smoking prevalence in the general population in Japan. Including both sexes, smoking prevalence declined from 32% of in 2000 to 21% in 2015, declining further to 19.4% in 2022. There are 21.2 million current smokers in Japan as of 2022. Male smoking prevalence has significantly declined over the last two decades, from 51% in 2000 to 33% in 2015, further decreasing to 28.7% as of 2022. Women’s smoking prevalence has also declined (albeit from a lower initial prevalence than men), from 13% in 2000 to 10% in 2015, with a slight increase to 10.5% in 2022.

he use of heated tobacco products (HTP) has blossomed since their introduction to the country in 2014, with 12.9 million current users in 2022. This equates to a prevalence of 11.8%. Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction research, which compares sales volumes, shows the changing nature of cigarette and HTP consumption. Using market data released in annual and quarterly reports by Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco, the sales of individual cigarettes was around 182.34 billion units when heated tobacco products started to become more widely available in 2015. By 2023 this had dropped 52% to just 88.1 billion units, a fall of 94.2 billion units, while the sale of the tobacco sticks used in HTP that year had risen to 62 billion units in under 10 years.

Heated tobacco products are generally regulated in a similar way to combustible cigarettes in Japan. Both cigarettes and HTP are banned from hospitals, schools and government offices. Since 2020 in factories, general offices and restaurants, cigarette use has only been permitted in special tobacco rooms that are used exclusively by smokers for smoking and nothing else. HTP users, however, while also restricted to designated rooms within these venues, can also undertake other activities in these spaces, for example, eating and drinking.

Nicotine vaping products are regulated as medicinal products. No nicotine vapes have yet been approved for sale in Japan, but they can be imported for personal use. Non-nicotine vapes are used in Japan and the vaping prevalence amongst adults was 1.9% as of 2017. 11.7% of the general population have tried vaping at least once.

The situation is more complicated for oral nicotine products: snus is legal to use and to buy, and can be marketed, however, as with nicotine vapes, nicotine pouches are not available in Japan as none of these products has yet been approved for sale. Nicotine replacement therapies (including gums and patches) can be purchased without prescription and can be legally marketed, with a total market size of €77.7 million.



157810 people die every year due to tobacco smoking in Japan.

77.7 million €

Market size of NRT.

NRT market size is estimated to be 77.7 million €.

Nicotine Vaping Devices

in Japan

In Japan it is illegal to sell nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as they are categorised as medicinal products, and as of yet none have been approved in this manner. However, Japanese vapers can import up to one month's supply of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes for their own individual use. E-cigarettes without nicotine are not regulated. Restrictions on vaping indoors in public places exist. The prevalence of current e-cigarette vaping among adults is 1.9%. 11.4% of the population have ever tried e-cigarette vaping.

Heated Tobacco Products

in Japan

In Japan, heated tobacco products are regulated by the amended Health Promotion Act. The amendments to the Act define smoking to include smoke or vapour from burned or heated tobacco, and therefore heated tobacco products are included in the smoking ban stipulated by the amendments. Smoking is completely banned in schools, hospitals, children’s facilities, government facilities, passenger cars, and planes. However, in practice, use of heated tobacco products is allowed in other public places such as restaurants and passenger ships and trains. The tax on heated tobacco products is currently at the same level as pipe tobacco under the Tobacco Tax Act, and sale to minors is restricted in accordance with Article 5 of the Act on Prohibition of Smoking by Minors. Heated tobacco products are also regulated by the Tobacco Business Act.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

in Japan

NRT market size is estimated to be 77.7 million €. In Japan it is legal to purchase nicotine without using NRT prescription. NRT is legal to market. NRT are available in Pharmacy.


in Japan

Snus is allowed. Snus is legal to use.


in Japan

The sale of Pouches is banned. Pouches are illegal to be marketed.

The GSTHR database is updated regularly by our team. However, please be aware that the information we provide does not constitute legal advice. We cannot guarantee that the information is up to date or accurate, as the regulatory status of different product categories can change at short notice and with little publicity. If you wish to check the legal status of use or possession of any safer nicotine product in a specific country or region, you should verify the information independently. If you have reason to think that the information supplied on the GSTHR is inaccurate, please contact us with details and any references and we will rectify any errors.