『保健医療科学』 2023 第72巻 第1号 p.52-61（2023年2月）
Topics：Recent topics in public health in Japan 2023 ＜Review＞
Preventing tobacco use among young adults has significant implications for public health in the future
TANO Rumi 1), HIRANO Tomoyasu 2)
1) Department of Health Promotion, National Institute of Public Health
2) Institute for Cancer Control, National Cancer Center
Even though the age of adulthood was lowered in Japan in April 2022, the minimal age of legal access (MLA) for tobacco products is maintained at 20 years, because the earlier the age of smoking initiation, the more likely one is at risk for tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and the higher the risk of premature death and individuals with younger age of smoking initiation are considered more likely to have difficulty quitting cigarettes. The smoking prevalence among junior and senior high school students has significantly decreased, whereas that among those in their 20s are high, and the downward trend of smoking prevalence is slow. In contrast to the dramatic drop of smoking prevalence of junior and senior high school students, the downward trend is not significant.
Smokers have been reported to have a combination of lifestyle disorders, such as an unbalanced diet and lack of physical activity, compared with nonsmokers. Given that the smoking behavior and attitudes of family members, friends, and others around smokers may be related to the smoking behavior of young people, it seems important to avoid smoking and showing cigarettes around children as a countermeasure against
In Japan, the minimum age of adulthood and the MLA have been separated by this revision of the Civil Code. Considering the adverse health effects, raising the age from 20 years old to higher age should be considered a public health policy option. Comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs should reduce the number of smokers and incidence of tobacco-related diseases and deaths.
keywords: smoking initiation, young adults, tobacco products, raising the minimum age of legal access