Seoul needs smoke-free taxis
A number of Seoulites enjoy taxis as a means of transportation along with the subway and buses. Despite the higher cost, taxis offer a comfortable ride and sometimes a faster travel time to a destination.
However, non-smoking passengers are frustrated at taxi drivers and other passengers who smoke inside the taxi, overshadowing these conveniences. Common sense dictates that drivers and passengers should not smoke in taxis; secondhand smoke affects and claims lives. From adolescents to infants and toddlers, detrimental health effects remain latent but last for an unidentified period of time.
Korea’s Constitutional Court has ruled that non-smokers’ rights override smokers’ rights in that upholding the former safeguards public health. A number of U.S. states and Tokyo also prohibit smoking in taxis. Time is more than ripe for the Seoul government to review a taxi smoking ban.
by Choi Si-young, Founding editor-in-chief of Yonsei European Studies at Yonsei University