Put priority on peoples’ health

Tokyo

Regarding Joseph Jaworski’s Feb. 16 letter, “Let consumers rule on smoking“: In countries like Australia, governments have acted to ban smoking in commercial facilities used by the public, such as licensed clubs, shopping centers and restaurants, primarily in the interest of workers’ occupational health and safety. While there was the predictable bleating from certain lobby groups that this would damage businesses’ bottom lines, most soon found the opposite to be true; people were attracted to places where they could enjoy eating, shopping and meeting in a clean-air environment without having to worry about their health being endangered.

Many dilemmas involve a clash of perceived “rights” between two groups, in this case a smoking minority and the nonsmoking majority. In such situations, the right to health should always prevail. I look forward to the day when Japan’s government decides to follow the example of other countries’ administrations in prioritizing the health of its citizens above that of a vocal minority, and takes meaningful, comprehensive action to protect workers and others against the proven harmful effects of passive smoking.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

catherine wallace