Nagasaki University bans smokers from teaching positions
© Tomohiro OhsumiNon-smoking area in Tokyo. (2017)
Nagasaki University will not, in principle, hire professors or teachers who smoke, a move that apparently is a first by a state-run university.

However, university officials said exemptions to the rule will be allowed if applicants promise to quit the habit after taking up the post.

The new policy announced April 19 reflects a growing trend to ban smoking in all public spaces, including restaurants and bars, in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The policy also mirrors growing efforts by private-sector organizations to implement no-smoking rules.

"Our job as a university is to nurture human resources, and we feel obliged to to discourage people against smoking as some companies have begun not recruiting smokers," said Shigeru Kono, president of the university.

An official of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare admitted to "never having heard of such a policy being implemented by a state-run university."

Applicants for all faculty posts, including visiting professors and those who are specially appointed, are obliged to be non-smokers.

The policy follows the university's "No-smoking road map" released last November that involves removing 10 smoking areas in the campus step by step.

A blanket ban on smoking within the university premises by teaching and other staff will take effect from August. Teachers and students will be prohibited from carrying cigarettes or lighters from next April.

Smokers account for approximately 8 percent of the university's faculty staff.

A doctor specializing in psychosomatic disorders will be on hand from May to help those who are having difficulty giving up smoking.

Teachers and students who smoke will be encouraged to see the doctor.

The revised health promotion law to be enforced from April 2020 bans smoking at eating and drinking establishments.