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Stubbed out: Japanese university stops hiring smoking professors

71 Comments
By Charly Triballeau

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Local media said it was the first state-run university to introduce such a condition of employment and the move comes after Tokyo's city government passed strict new anti-smoking rules last year ahead of the 2020 Summer Games.

Please STOP, with connecting every decision made by anyone or anywhere here to the Tokyo Olympics! You are making an assumption, based upon no evidence written here, that this decision is anyway at all connected to the decision made in Tokyo!

Nagasaki has little if nothing to do with the Olympics, and for all you know this decision may have been made PRIOR to Tokyo's and is just being implemented now.

If that's the case you should be writing that Tokyo changed IT's laws following Nagasaki University, but you wouldn't would you? Because it's Nagasaki and not Tokyo!

28 ( +29 / -1 )

Nagasaki University spokesman Yusuke Takakura told AFP they have "stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke",

That's discrimination based on personal life it's no different from universities that try to limit number of applicant based on gender!

On the other hand that university can apply strong regulation not smoking in campus area, outside that area is not their business.

7 ( +23 / -16 )

Despite that, tobacco use in Japan has been falling in line with a broader global trend.

Why in the hell is this line even included in the article? If Japan was truly falling in line, tobacco prices would have gone up by at least 100% per pack, and even then they would be far cheaper than found in many countries "globally".

The average pack of Mevius brand (Formerly Mild 7) tobacco is ¥480 per pack. Double that price tomorrow and you would see a flood of guys stop smoking....their wives wouldn't give them an allowance for THAT much for cigarettes!

13 ( +16 / -3 )

That's discrimination based on personal life it's no different from universities that try to limit number of applicant based on gender!

False equivalency.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

The average pack of Mevius brand (Formerly Mild 7) tobacco is ¥480 per pack. Double that price tomorrow and you would see a flood of guys stop smoking....their wives wouldn't give them an allowance for THAT much for cigarettes!

Agreed. Though it's quite sad to think of men on allowances from their wives.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Olympics....you know too much of a good thing is bad right?

Well I don’t think this is right at all. I think that you can tell people to not smoke at work, but once they leave, life is theirs to live.

Perhaps alcohol should also be included as bad judgement? If that was thrown in their, the whole nation would get fired. I know that a good quarter of the planet thinks of it as an evil vice.

Respect privacy and the home life of your employees!

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Thanks Nanny state! Who's next?

-13 ( +8 / -21 )

recently i hesitate to enter a restaurant or bar that offers smoking.

people who smoke stink all the time. and they stink up the room around them.

one guy goes for a smoke, then enters an elevator -- now everyone in the elevator is affected

jerks

smokers are dangerous to be around.

so i think this university is totally badass

thoughts of the future are in the right direction with this case

7 ( +18 / -11 )

I have no problem with this. Smoking is banned in my university. i wouldn’t have minded it being banned in Japan too. I was on exchange in Kwansei Gakuin university and there were smokers all huddled in a specific outdoor corridor of the campus i had to pass through all the time. Had to hold my breath. Really annoying.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

I never hired anyone who smoked. Even if they don't smoke in the office, they smell so bad if you are sitting next to them or if they come to your desk.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Excellent news!!

We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,"

I agree!

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Less smoking means a better Japan.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Thanks Nanny state! Who's next?

You must have missed the part of the article that clearly stated this was one school's policy and not a government edict.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Great stuff.

If you can't smoke on the campus then having smokers doesn't make any sense.

Im sure there are "responsible" smokers out there but even in my own team the smokers always have their own schedule, are late for meetings and returning to work because they "have to" sneak their personal addiction during work hours.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

At our university, the teachers, staff and students must leave the campus, walk across the street and light up there. I have often timed how long they are out there smoking as I can see the area from my office. The usual smoker is out there about 5 minutes to smoke and chat with the other people. I'm not sure how often they are allowed to go, but if you do the math and they smoke 5 times a day, that is almost half an hour of less work than nonsmokers are doing. Also, where they smoke is right next to a main street leading to another kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school and high school. Not the best way to set an example, in my opinion.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Refusal to hire someone who does smoke, that is crossing a line into personal rights.

Which right?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Which right?

The right to privacy! What a person does on their own time, if it does not break any laws, is not the businesses of their employer!

1 ( +10 / -9 )

What a person does on their own time, if it does not break any laws, is not the businesses of their employer!

By the same token, if what a person does in their own time affects their work, their colleagues or the work environment, then it is the employer's business.

Smokers stink even when they are not smoking.

Smokers who need to slip out several times a day for a smoke break inconvenience other workers and continue to breathe out noxious gases from their contaminated lungs for up to half an hour after returning to the work environment. They also usually expect to be paid for time not worked.

Smokers who cannot pull off a convincing 'Of course I don't smoke' at the job interview are either honest to the point of stupidity or have a habit that is out of control to the extent that it cannot successfully be hidden from the outside world.

Educators are supposed to set an example to their charges. Smokers set the wrong example.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

This is a pretty dumb idea. If the professor is great teacher you are not going to hire him because he smokes?

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Nagasaki University... have "stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke"

"We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector," 

So if due to the stress of work, a non-smoking member of teaching staff starts smoking - but never smokes at school -will Nagasaki University fire this person?

For both cases - yes and no - it will have created a legal minefield for itself.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Smoking is also banned on the campus of this university; the addicts can be found in neighbouring streets creating a nuisance for local residents.

Still, I think Nagasaki University is wrong here. If smoking is "not fit for the education sector" then they should also refuse admission to any students who smoke. To do otherwise would be hypocritical and cause confusion.

This move by Nagasaki University is a textbook definition of discrimination, no matter what nonsense they may come out with in an attempt to justify it.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I think it is an infringement of one's personal habits/life. If the person stinks, then its fair to tell them to do something about the smell. But to downright not hire just on the basis of that is wrong.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Double that price tomorrow and you would see a flood of guys stop smoking.

I agree with this, but unfortunately, as nicotine is more addictive than heroin, when this happened, children of poorer families suffered terribly. No money for food, toys, clothes, holidays.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Less smoking means a better Japan.

Japan without smoking is not Japan.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

JT is partially owned by the Japanese govt, I think the number 5 top company in Japan. They mainly grow their tabacco in Ibaraki. Ibaraki has high levels of Cesium and Strontium. Tabacco plants are high absorbers of ionizing radionuclides. Not only are the smokers slowly getting irradiated, but passive smokers too. Low Dose Radiation (LDR) causes immune system deficiency, depression, aggression, fatigue and eventually organ damage and cancers. Add that to the already very well documented effects of smoking on humans and unborn babies...it is pretty common sense to ban it.

BUT, what people do in their private life...it’s a tough one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bottom line

On the job, don’t smoke. But when I go home, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

I am not a smoker, but employers don’t need to be offering you less privacy than they do.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Great idea! Smokers = people who can't handle life without some kind of narcotic.

Apply the same ban to teachers in high school, JHS, or elementary school. Talk about poor role models.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Reading the comment section, it seems that the biggest concern for some people is that "smokers stink".

I am not sure if that is really the worst about smoking, thought it was the possibility of cancer (through passive smoking as well), but oh what do I know.

If the smell is really the worst part of it, the University should then also ban all smelly people from working there?

I am NOT saying they should keep things as they are. They should ban smoking on campus, except for e.g. little smoking booths cut off from non smoking people, have a system where you clock out of work when you get a smoke (so you will have to start earlier or stay longer or reduce your break time) or the likes.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Interesting how my post about alcohol gets removed but it's perfectly fine for other posters to suggest banning people who are overweight. Jesus christ.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I am a bit torn on this. On the one hand I am glad to see an institution taking a hard line against smoking, and this alao stands as proof of hardening social norms against tobacco here despite the lackof adequate regulation, which is a good sign.

On the other, I know a lot of really good academics who smoke! Refusing to allow smoking on campus I can support, but not hiring them at all based on a criteria that has nothing to do with the job seems draconian and unfair to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Shouldn't the focus be on attracting good professors, as opposed to whether or not the person smokes? How is this constitutionally allowable?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Thanks Nanny state! Who's next?

Being free to do as you please is becoming a crime - okay maybe just a misdemeanor. I don't understand why it has become necessary to regulate every habit or otherwise unapproved of behavior. The entire first world is micro-regulating everything. You can barely flirt on a college campus anymore without risking expulsion without due process.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Pipe-smoking history teachers are exempt though, obviously.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Nagasaki University spokesman Yusuke Takakura told AFP they have "stopped hiring any teaching staff who smoke",

"That's discrimination based on personal life it's no different from universities that try to limit number of applicant based on gender!

On the other hand that university can apply strong regulation not smoking in campus area, outside that area is not their business."

I am not agreeing or disagreeing, just pointing out that this is has been done at many places in the USA for decades! I know University of Alabama in Birmingham will not hire anyone who smokes. That has been their policy for at least a decade IIRC. There are other places that whose business is health and/or insurance with similar policies.

(but my two cents is you should be allowed to do what ever you want in your free time at home)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I might be too old, when I was growing up The government actively encouraged smoking and allowed it to be marketed as cool. Suddenly it's a bad thing. It is a bad thing I'm not fighting that point at all. It's bad but my childhood government supported an addictive habit that was then pro-ported to be harmless? Thankfully society is wiser today. Yet I'm still addicted, I never smoke inside or on the street. It's disgusting but I'm addicted. So now at the cusp of death I'm ostensibly cast out of the same society that encouraged me to smoke. That hurts.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Smell? Stench is the right word, I think. I've gotten off trains and waited for another one because some guy (almost never a woman) carried a stench in his clothing that was so bad it was making me queasy.

Sometimes when I go in a convenience store around noon, there are construction workers there who reek so strongly, I wait outside until they leave.

Having said this, I think Nagasaki University is on very questionable legal ground.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

The right to privacy! What a person does on their own time, if it does not break any laws, is not the businesses of their employer!

That's not how the right to privacy works. You are confusing the right to privacy with equality under the law.

Employers aren't under an obligation to hire smokers because being a smoker is not a protected class, so anti-discrimination laws, which come from equality under the law, are inapplicable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I agree with this, but unfortunately, as nicotine is more addictive than heroin, when this happened, children of poorer families suffered terribly. No money for food, toys, clothes, holidays.

What surprises me is no poster has mentioned the revolution in products that give you nicotine without the smoke, it is super easy to give up "breathing in burning leaves and paper", when any super market will sell gum or spray or patch.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hopefully the uni gets proper sued.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Hopefully the uni gets proper sued.

Why? They aren't breaking any laws. Smoking is a lifestyle choice not an immutable characteristic, so the equal rights laws aren't implicated.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Smart enough to be a professor but stupid enough to smoke?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

it seems that the biggest concern for some people is that "smokers stink". 

I am not sure if that is really the worst about smoking

Not the worst, just one more minus.

They should ban smoking on campus, except for e.g. little smoking booths cut off from non smoking people, have a system where you clock out of work when you get a smoke (so you will have to start earlier or stay longer or reduce your break time) or the likes.

And who do you propose should pay for these little extras set up solely for the benefit of people who have been stupid enough to give themselves a life-threatening addiction?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My campus has been non-smoking for years, which is all to the good. However, denying a qualified person an employment opportunity on the basis of a choice he makes that is both legal and protected by the constitution seems extreme to this ex-smoker.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I was sacked from a job for smelling of alcohol. I was right peed off because it was none of the bosses business what I did the night before. But reading this, I realize she was right because I absolutely hate the breath and clothes smell of smokers. Same thing.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

While I don't like cigarettes I don't think it is right to be so anarchic about it. Do it slowly by limiting smoking points would be fine.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

That's not how the right to privacy works. You are confusing the right to privacy with equality under the law.

No I am not, the right to privacy also includes the right to not have you or anyone into my house or where ever I may choose to light up OUTSIDE the campus property, in dictating to me what I can or can not do in my own private space!

Employers aren't under an obligation to hire smokers because being a smoker is not a protected class, so anti-discrimination laws, which come from equality under the law, are inapplicable.

"Protected class?", remember where this discussion is being had, they can very well be sued, and probably will win because they are in fact discriminating against potentially qualified applicants

There is no such thing as a "protected class" here. Use Japanese law.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I like it. Keep the trend going!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

interesting so now they don't anything to do and went to people who smoke LUL if someone want to smoke it's up to him as long as he do not bother anyone in campus or out, putting this rule is really stupid and they know lot of people in japan smoke

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The liberal/left is luxuriating in this. “Look! Another freedom taken away! Yippee!”

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Good, heavy smokers don’t realise how foul they smell. It is very distracting. Imagine having to be taught by a teacher who stinks of tobacco inside a closed room. Standing in carriage during peak hours with a smoker right next to you is horrid.

No point in going soft by asking them to try and quit, because most won’t. There are so many signs in Japan with no smoking and they are ignored by smokers. Credit to the Uni going in hard.

The liberal/left is luxuriating in this. “Look! Another freedom taken away! Yippee

I think I can live with that “freedom” being taken away.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Great news, filthy habit that should be culled. Wooohooo

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The liberal/left is luxuriating in this. “Look! Another freedom taken away! Yippee!”

By that definition of "liberal", would you also describe those who deny abortions to women as liberal? It's simply authoritarian, and neither left nor right. It seems more a case of "what's right for me is right for others".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a non-smoker, while I don't appreciate the smell of tobacco from someone in public, let along inhaling secondhand smoke, I think the university overstepped this one. People are just, well, people. Everyone has their own coping mechanism and smoking is one of the most common. While I understand that the image of someone who teaches people for a living should be a shining example of what one should be (without any vices), they still have their coping mechanisms. I hope the university gives some leeway for professors who smoke, it would be a shame if their skills and experience would just be trumped by a single vice.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The liberal/left is luxuriating in this. “Look! Another freedom taken away! Yippee!”

No, it's not a freedom being taken away, these people can smoke all they want, they just have to find a different place to apply for work.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"Being free to do as you please is becoming a crime..." it is when YOUR cancer filled carniogene laden ciggie clouds fills MY air and enters MY body without MY permission. This is the usual false equivalency argument being run. I may come down with, say breast cancer, without ever having smoked a day in my life, because YOU smoked everywhere in JT Japan.

This is going to stop and Japan is going to go nonsmoking, especially indoors everywhere, 100%. It is the only solutions. Smokers have no rights.

If you vote, vote out the LDP lackies to the JT company. Ibaraki ken, start growing rice or corn or something that is not killing people. Doesn't the shame bring mortal shame?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Apply the same ban to teachers in high school, JHS, or elementary school. Talk about poor role models.

Rather have a teacher that smokes than one that molests kids, or is unable to recognize or acknowledge when someone in their care is being bullied!

Being a smoker does not take away from one's ability to do their job. On school grounds fine. But the minute anyone is off the grounds, on their own time, the employer has no businesses butting in!

It's basically the same as saying "you can't have a tattoo" to work in my company! Even though it's covered up and you will never in your life see it! (Talk to people in Osaka about that one!)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Being a smoker does not take away from one's ability to do their job. On school grounds fine. But the minute anyone is off the grounds, on their own time, the employer has no businesses butting in!

You keep making these claims that the employer has no grounds for butting into ones life outside of work, but aren't providing any supporting evidence.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

applicants who promise to kick the habit before taking up their post could still be offered employment.

The university will also ban smoking entirely on campus from August, opening a clinic for those who cannot give up

Including the applicants who promised to kick the habit but can't give it up?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Including the applicants who promised to kick the habit but can't give it up?

Brilliant question. I'd also like to know the answer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,"

As a university they will have extensively researched fitness for the education sector. I would like them to point to the evidence that brought them to this conclusion.

Without putting their case, excluding smokers is as irrational as smoking itself. I don’t smoke, I don’t like second hand smoke and I don’t like the smell of smoke on clothing but, I can see no justification for hounding, or excluding people from their jobs. It’s draconian nonsense.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You keep making these claims that the employer has no grounds for butting into ones life outside of work, but aren't providing any supporting evidence.

Oh so then you are saying that it's ok for an employer to determine your lifestyle habits!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Excellent decision. Cigarettes are a recognized health hazard. A teacher puffing away is certainly not a positive role model for students.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

dont like it? exactly... if its legal, and you do it outside of your employment area, it aint your employers concern whatsoever.

Far too many posters have a difficult time accepting this when it comes to smoking. Other "unhealthy" habits or lifestyles get a free pass.

It also seems to me that far too many here are unaware as well, that just about every public school in Japan, least wise as far as I know, already bans smoking on school grounds. From some of the comments I have read here, people seem to think the teachers are smoking away in class, in front of students, and that is not the case.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wonder, are they going to stop admitting students who smoke too? Are they going to kick out any students who refuse to quit?

Highly doubt it, they want their tuition money!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thanks Nanny state! Who's next?.

At what POINT is your freedom to a drug, tobacco, and your right to pollute the surrounding environment AND to raise my health fees due to YOUR cancer more important than my RIGHT to being free of your toxic second smoke which us far more cancer causing than when the smoker inhales his own smoke. You people need a nanny because of your irresponsibility.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“We have reached a conclusion”

For all those celebrating this, well done, you’ve just enabled and high fived authoritarianism. It’s each idiots right to smoke or not, no matter what your high and mighty personal preferences are.

Beware the nanny state。It’s a bland, boring , moronic place.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector," the spokesman said.

On what basis? Is there a body of scientific research conclusively linking inefficiency as a teacher with smoking? Has there been a spate of passive-smoking linked health retirements caused by smokers working too closely with non-smokers, or as some people posting here seem to believe can happen, by an accidental waft of second-hand smoke caused by a smoker walking by?

I haven't smoked for forty years, but I'm amazed at the number of otherwise liberal posters commenting here who seem to believe that an employer should have the right to discriminate in their hiring practices against job seekers who indulge in a legal habit, even if they indulge in that habit only in their own time and in their own home. Not to mention that such discrimination is hardly in the interests of finding the most efficient person for the job.

Perhaps not so "liberal" after all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm pushing for a complete ban on smoking in the university I work at, too. No 18 or 19 year old needs to be smoking. Get 'em while they're young!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The liberal/left is luxuriating in this. “Look! Another freedom taken away! Yippee!”

Progressives are not liberals anymore.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While I do not encourage anyone I know to smoke, I do think it is wrong to entirely ban the practice. Let evolution take its course; those who engage in self-destructive behavior will have fewer offspring.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I smoke (IQOS) but I don’t drink.

I can agree to prohibit smoking in the public space only when drinking is also prohibited because I get disturbed by drunk ppl on my way home every Friday night, puke remains on the street and train station, smell of alcohol, and watching tragic news quiet often committed by drunk drivers.

I hope everyone can agree to this if you are not hypocrite. Until then, I will continue to indulge myself in one pack a pack a day routine :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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