Regarding the Jan. 14 Media Mix column titled “Media sidesteps calling Japan Tobacco out on advertising” and two other recent articles about making Tokyo smoke-free for the Olympics, several people and organizations are reported as fearing the loss of business if restaurants are made smoke-free.

These people are blind to the business they are already losing from people who reject dining in a smoky atmosphere. My wife and I have walked out of innumerable restaurants because of the smoke. As the number of nonsmokers is higher than the number of smokers and as, I expect, the percentage of nonsmokers who reject dining in a smoky room is higher than that of smokers who reject dining in a nonsmoking restaurant, this is likely quite substantial business.

They might also ask themselves why there are virtually no complaints from restaurant owners in cities that have become smoke-free.

One of the articles said that a restaurant association wanted to make Tokyo a world leader in separate spaces for smokers and nonsmokers. They are over 30 years too late for that. California tried it in the mid-’80s but abandoned it when it became clear that it doesn’t work and, more importantly, that it did not lead to any substantial reduction of the rate of smoking-related cancer among restaurant workers.

If restaurant owners were forced to take liability for the health damage caused to their workers from providing an unsafe workplace, their restaurants would become smoke-free pretty darned quick. Perhaps what we need are more aggressive lawyers.

Mark Callow

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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