Japan has no legal restrictions on cigarette advertising and vending machines. This lack of smoking control measures is a possible contributor to smoking initiation by adolescents. This study was conducted to provide primary data on environmental factors related to smoking, such as cigarette advertising and candy cigarettes, that influence elementary school children in Japan. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with a self-administered questionnaire at two elementary schools in Kitakyushu City, Japan in 1995. Questionnaire sheets were anonymously filled out by 282 elementary school children at school. The effective response rate was 91.5% (128 boys and 130 girls). Over 90% of respondents had seen cigarette advertising on TV, candy cigarettes and cigarette vending machines. Over 75% had at least one smoker in their family. Fewer female children expressed an intent to smoke in the future despite the fact that there were no significant sex differences in smoking-related experiences. Children were higher exposed to cigarette advertising on TV, candy cigarettes, vending machines and family members' smoking. Control of such smoking-related factors in the environment would be crucial to keeping children from initiating smoking behavior.