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As a doctor in Tokyo, I have a strong objection to Joseph Jaworski’s Feb. 16 letter. Last week, a 58-year-old male patient came into my clinic. He has never smoked, but many people do in his restaurant. In 2009 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was operated on. After that, various anti-cancer agents were tried, almost to no avail. The cancer metastasized everywhere, including in the spine.

In December, he noticed an abnormal sensation when walking. In January, he found it difficult to go up stairs. In February, normal walking became more difficult. After various examinations, the diagnosis was a metastatic thoracic spinal tumor due to lung cancer. He won’t be walking again anytime soon.

I wonder, when someone says there is a right to smoke, does he really understand what he is saying? Once a person is diagnosed with lung cancer he must give up everything he wants to do or hopes to do. The number of deaths attributed to passive smoking is estimated at more than 10,000 every year in this country. This is a shame. If you want to smoke, do it outside.

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.

manabu sakuta, m.d.

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