Taipei (Taiwan News) -- The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) announced today a proposed law to expand the recent ban on smoking in public places to bars, nightclubs, cigar lounges, and this will include e-cigarettes with violators subject to a fine of up to NT$10,000 (US$312).
Under the current regulations, smoking is banned in public places. However, there is an exception to this law for hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and other indoor public spaces that have independent air conditioning systems or rooms that have been partitioned for smoking, as well as cigar lounges and bars after 9 p.m.
Lo Su- ying (羅素英), head of the HPA's Health Education and Tobacco Control Division, told CNA today that the proposed amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act to remove smoking rooms will not only apply to bars, nightclubs and cigar lounges, but also electronic cigarettes a will be included, with the devices banned from public areas and not to be sold to those under 18 years of age.
Lo explained that studies have found that designated smoking rooms cannot effectively eliminate the release of second-hand smoke. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has found that there is "no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke," therefore the government plans to require 100 percent smoke-free environments in all indoor workplaces and indoor public places.
As for e-cigarettes, Lo said the draft of the law states electronic devices that release smoke that contain nicotine, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, or other substances harmful to human health are to be banned.
Lo pointed out that e-cigarettes are a growing global health hazard and out of fear that minors will be exposed to such products, these devices will be banned in public places and no one will be allowed to advertise or supply electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18.
The HPA announced that the draft will have a 60-day preview period during which members from all walks of life of the public can put forth their suggestions to the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan to consider. Once the measure passes, smoking of cigarettes and e-cigarettes will be banned in all public places, and violators will be subject to a fine of up to NT$10,000.
On Jan.1 , a complete ban on smoking at bus stops was instituted for 1,150 waiting areas at 932 bus stops in Taipei City, with violators subject to a maximum fine of NT$10,000 (US$314).