Worldwide, tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable disease and premature death. For a century, large corporations have manufactured and sold cigarettes, a highly, addictive tobacco product. Today, over 1 billion people smoke. In recent decades, as smoking has declined in developed countries, the multinational tobacco companies have aggressively sought new markets in the developing countries.
In Japan, tobacco smoking is one of the main avoidable causes of disease and death. The majority of men smoke and because Japanese men have smoked increasing numbers of cigarettes across recent decades, the burden of smoking caused disease can be expected to rise. Fortunately, most women in Japan do not smoke; however, smoking is rising in young women who are the target of tobacco advertising and promotion.