OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to conduct an age-period-cohort (APC) analysis of smoking prevalence trends in urban and non-urban areas in Japan. METHODS: Data on smoking prevalence from 2004 to 2019 were extracted from the Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions in Japan. Government ordinance-designated cities and special wards in Tokyo were defined as urban areas. The respondents ranged from 20 years to 79 years old, and were grouped in 5-year intervals. Cohorts were defined for each age group of each year, and those born between 1925-1929 and 1995-1999 were examined. We calculated the estimated smoking prevalence for each age, period, and cohort, as well as the smoking prevalence ratio of non-urban areas compared with urban areas from the APC analysis results. RESULTS: The magnitude of the decrease in the period effect on smoking prevalence was larger in urban areas than in non-urban areas for both men and women. The smoking prevalence ratio for non-urban areas compared with that of urban areas was above 1 for men at most time points, except in the older age groups. In addition, the prevalence ratio between the areas decreased, particularly as age increased. For women, the smoking prevalence ratio in non-urban areas compared to urban areas was below 1 until cohorts born in the 1970s, but the trend reversed thereafter. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that further smoking control and cessation measures are necessary, particularly for older cohorts in urban women and for younger ages in non-urban men.
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