For the week ending 26 January 2008 / 19 Shevat 5768
No, No, No to Smokers
Question: Despite the fact that there are signs prominently displayed in the building where I work prohibiting smoking anywhere besides the area designated for smoking, I sometimes see a co-worker smoking in the prohibited area. What is the right thing to do?
Answer: There are a few reasons for you to confront the violator and urge him to desist from such behavior:
1) He is harming you and others by exposing you to the fumes that medical experts say are harmful to your health.
2) He is violating the rules established by the local authorities and the building owners.
3) His public behavior encourages others to follow his example of polluting the environment.
These are some of the arguments you can present — in a gentle tone — plus the reminder that smoking may be dangerous to his own health. By taking this initiative you will fulfill the Torah command to reprove your fellow Jew and save this fellow from doing harm to himself and others.