I agree with everything Joseph Jaworski says in his Feb. 16 letter, “Let consumers rule on smoking,” but I think he misses one very important point — the right of employees to work in a healthy environment. This was, at least ostensibly, why New York banned smoking in all workplaces in 2003.
Until very recently in Japan, it was impossible to vote with my wallet. Never mind a smoking ban, even restaurants/bars with separate seating were nearly nonexistent. Over the past year or so, a few brave proprietors have gone 100 percent no-smoking, and now that I have a choice — albeit a very limited one — I have stopped patronizing any restaurant that isn’t 100 percent no-smoking.
However, workers don’t have that freedom. For so many young people, restaurants and bars are among the few places where they can earn a decent wage. Yes, out of the 100 izakaya in my city, I can go to the one that is nonsmoking. But what about all the workers who cannot exercise such a choice?
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.
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