The following is my essay that I wrote as an assignment for an English school AEON:
Topic: Should smoking be allowed in public places in Japan? Why or why not?
Regarding this subject, there have been long-lasting controversies between smokers and non-smokers in Japan. Let me marshal points of both sides briefly:
Smokers – smoking should be allowed in public places:
– Smokers are paying a huge amount of tax. The annual amount reaches around 2 Trillion JPY ($18 Billion). Since smokers are contributing a lot to the national budget, they maintain the right to smoke wherever they want.
– Given that drinking alcohol is not prohibited at all in public places in Japan, why should smoking be prohibited? Please note that drinking alcohol in public is strictly prohibited in Australia, for example.
– Nicotine can activate the human brain and increase willingness so that we can prevent depression or other mental disorders and enhance working efficiency.
– Government should not control each individual’s taste. It is the start of fascism since Nazi Germany tried to promote “a healthy empire” by banning smoking.
– Many smokers are now shifting to an electronic cigarette that usually do not harm bystanders.
Non-smokers – smoking should be banned in public places:
– Secondhand smoke contains diversified toxic chemicals that harm bystanders who just breath in the vicinity of smokers.
– In restaurants, the smell of smoke damages the taste of served dishes.
– Smoking increases the risk of fire in public places.
– There might be people who are suffering from asthma or bronchitis in the nearness of smokers.
– Smoking induces many types of diseases including lethal one such as lung cancer so that it increases the cost of our health care insurance system.
– Children or young students might be lured to smoke by seeing some adults are smoking in public spaces.
Both sides have legitimacy in one way or another. It is clear, however, that the number of smokers has been continuously decreasing so that they are becoming a clear minority in Japan. Smokers must be louder in insisting their right otherwise they will lose places to smoke freely more and more.