The Japanese government is increasingly regulating heated tobacco products differently than cigarettes, finds Frost & Sullivan
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – December 3, 2020 – The development and commercial launch of novel nicotine and tobacco products (NNTPs) such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) have stimulated debate around the use of these products as a component of tobacco harm reduction (THR). Public health systems in countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand encourage smokers to adopt NNTPs if they are otherwise unable or unwilling to quit. However, concerns remain about the lack of data on their long-term impact on health and whether people who have never smoked, particularly youths, will initiate tobacco use through NNTPs and later transition to smoking conventional cigarettes.
Frost & Sullivan’s latest thought leadership white paper, Tobacco Harm Reduction and Novel Nicotine and Tobacco Products: Evidence from the Japanese Market, written in collaboration with Philip Morris International, covers the impact of the commercial launch of NNTPs on tobacco use in Japan and discusses the regulatory approach that the Japanese government is taking with regard to these products. It focuses on the Japanese market because HTPs have been commercially available in the country since 2013, and Japan is the largest market for HTPs, despite the absence of a formal THR policy to encourage this.
“The commercial availability of HTPs in Japan is associated with a significant drop in conventional cigarette sales, well ahead of the previous rate of decline. Moreover, even after HTPs became available, sales of all tobacco products (HTPs and conventional cigarettes) continued to fall. Although there is mixed evidence, data from the 2019 National Health Survey indicates that 76% of consumers who use HTPs do so exclusively. Only 24% of HTP users maintain dual-use,” explained Mark Dougan, Consulting Director, Healthcare, Frost & Sullivan.
Dougan added, “The Japanese government is differentiating HTPs from conventional cigarettes in regulations such as taxation, health warnings and indoor use restrictions, with HTPs generally receiving less-stringent regulatory settings than conventional cigarettes.”
Globally, smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature mortality and morbidity, with over 7 million mortalities from smoking-related diseases and a further 1.2 million from exposure to tobacco smoke. Overall, based on the data from Japan, the following trends have been identified:
- Between 2015 and 2019, the total cigarette sales in Japan dropped by 34%, which can be associated with the commercial launch of HTPs.
- The regulatory framework for HTPs is increasingly diverging from the framework governing conventional cigarettes in terms of taxation, health warnings, and restrictions on use.
- The availability of HTPs has had a low impact on the initiation of tobacco use by never-smokers and re-initiation by former smokers.
- HTPs are also less likely to cause household fires than conventional cigarettes, which are the leading cause of household fires in Japan.
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