Characteristics of Smoking Cessation in Former Smokers in a Rural Area of Japan

Koshi Nakamura, Masaru Sakurai, Muneko Nishijo, Yuko Morikawa, Hideaki Nakagawa


Objectives: Japan has a relatively high prevalence of smoking in men. Despite the importance of behavioral patterns on successful smoking cessation, only limited information is available in Japan. The present study collected data from former smokers in a rural community in Japan in order to identify health status at the time of cessation, predominant motivating factors, and the role of smoking cessation aids in individuals who successfully stopped smoking.

Methods: This cross‑sectional study collected data using a self‑reported questionnaire from 149 randomly‑selected former smokers (119 men and 30 women, aged 20‑79 years) who were residents of Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

Results: Of the male participants, 14.3% quit due to serious personal health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, or respiratory tract disease, while 20.8% of former smokers experienced mild personal health problems or were pregnant at the time of cessation. An approximately equal number stopped smoking due to fear of illness in the absence of immediate health concerns. Compared to personal health motivations, a smaller number of male smokers quit due to anti‑smoking social pressure or expense. We also observed a marked increase in former smokers who quit for these reasons in recent years. Smoking lost its appeal in 19.3% of male and 10.0% of female smokers. Approximately, 95% of quitters did not utilize health professional counseling or pharmacological therapy.

Conclusions: Personal health concerns in former smokers in Nanao, Japan were the predominant motivation for quitting smoking, with the vast majority of former smokers achieving successful smoking cessation by themselves.

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