Photo/IllutrationSmoking is prohibited at a jazz cafe in Musashino, western Tokyo. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Smoking caused 2.05 trillion yen ($18.44 billion) in damage to Japanese society in fiscal 2015, mainly in the form of treating cancer and other tobacco-related conditions, a health ministry survey showed.

“Tobacco has various effects not only on people’s health but also all aspects of society,” said Ataru Igarashi, an associate professor of medical policies at the University of Tokyo. “Health-care costs are expected to drop due to the shrinking smoking population, but tobacco is still causing significant damage. Further countermeasures are required.”

Igarashi and his colleagues examined the financial damage of dealing with cancer, cerebral strokes and other diseases listed by the ministry as having strong connections to smoking, as well as dementia, asthma and other conditions whose links with smoking are suggested.

More than 50 percent of the damage, or 1.3594 trillion yen, came from medical costs, including 547.7 billion yen for cancer treatment and 101.6 billion yen for dental work.

Health-care costs related to ailments from passive smoking totaled 329.5 billion yen.

Tobacco-related nursing-care expenses were estimated at 261.7 billion yen, including 78 billion yen for dementia patients and 71.5 billion yen for those who suffered cerebral strokes.

Fires caused by cigarettes caused 97.5 billion yen in damage, while 1.6 billion yen was needed to clean up the litter left behind by smokers.

In another survey based on fiscal 2014 data, medical costs for smokers stood at 1.1669 trillion yen while treatment of ailments caused by secondhand smoke cost 323.3 billion yen.