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A couple of months ago a letter writer stated that she agrees with a government policy under consideration to raise cigarette prices. She thinks smokers are selfish; therefore, the policy seems rational and good for smokers’ health. I don’t agree with her.

I think if the government forces smokers to quit smoking by implementing the new policy, it will not necessarily be good for smokers. My father quit smoking some years ago, but then started drinking alcohol more than before. Although he was able to quit smoking, it only led to another bad result. So the policy can’t solve the real problem.

In addition, recently there have been many efforts by people who don’t smoke. For example, there are separate smoking areas in some restaurants; department stores sell portable ashtrays; and there are advertisements about the manner of smoking. Because of these efforts, cigarette butts on the road and people who smoke while walking have decreased little by little. Smokers’ ideas about smoking have been changing.

Some people argue that nonsmokers tend to hate the smoke or smell of cigarettes, and that smoking by others is harmful to them as well. However, as a nonsmoker, I think nonsmokers are a little selfish, too. It is natural for people to have their own likings. Smokers are in the minority, but we should not criticize them so much. The problem of harm caused by cigarettes to nonsmokers can be solved by the efforts mentioned above.

Instead of raising the price, what we need to do is understand each other. Nonsmokers should understand the lives of smokers and, likewise, smokers should understand the harm caused by smoking to all people, and learn to observe smoking rules. If we could do that, our society would really be better.

yui oyamada

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