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Intensified advertising of heated tobacco products in Japan: an apparent shift in marketing strategy
  1. Masao Ichikawa1,
  2. Ai Hori1,
  3. Haruhiko Inada2,
  4. Takahiro Tabuchi3
  1. 1 Department of Global Public Health, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
  2. 2 Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3 Cancer Control Center, Osaka International Cancer Institute, Osaka, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Masao Ichikawa, Department of Global Public Health, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8577, Japan; masao{at}

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Heated tobacco products (HTPs) were first introduced to the Japanese market in 2014, as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.1 Since then, HTPs quickly gained popularity. In 2019, 27% and 8% of men and women, respectively, were current smokers; among whom, 20% of both men and women used HTPs exclusively, and 7% and 5% of men and women, respectively, used both HTPs and conventional cigarettes.2 The sales share of HTPs in 2019 was 24% of tobacco products.3 To understand how the tobacco industry has increased market share of HTPs so shortly in Japan, we examined the recent trend of tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines. It is noted that Japan is a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but tobacco ads are still allowed in these media.


We obtained the monthly volume (or total size) of ads on tobacco products in newspapers and …

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  • Contributors MI conceived the study. All the authors designed the study. MI obtained and analysed the data. MI drafted the manuscript, which was then edited by AH, HI and TT. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.