BioScience Trends. 2010;4(4):161-164.
Longitudinal observation of influence of "taspo" on smoking behavior among high school students.
Miyajima S, Fukuda Y, Yoshimi I, Hayashi K
A system with an adult discrimination IC card "taspo" was introduced in 2008 to prevent minors from purchasing cigarettes in Japan. This study aimed to elucidate the short-term change in smoking behavior among a cohort of high school students through the introduction of the taspo system. We conducted a questionnaire survey in students at one high school in the metropolitan area of Japan in 2008. In this area, the taspo system was introduced on July 1, and the survey was conducted before and after its introduction (June and September). Change in smoking behavior was examined by linking the two questionnaires using a unique identification number for each participant. The questionnaire included basic characteristics, smoking-related behavior, and means of obtaining tobacco. Of 133 students, 123 (response rate 84.7%) completed the before and after questionnaire forms and could be linked. The smoking rate was 22.8% in June and 25.2% in September, with no statistically significant change. Vending machines were the major means of obtaining tobacco in June, while the use of cigarette shops and supermarkets increased after the introduction of taspo. The introduction of taspo hardly influenced underage smoking behavior during the observation period in our study subjects. The only significant change was in the means of obtaining tobacco. To prevent underage smoking, the importance of comprehensive restriction of the procurement route was suggested.