Taichung to ban smoking at over 1,400 overhangs, storefronts Jan. 1

Violators of new regulation could face NT$10,000 fine as government establishes more smoke-free zones in city

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Smoking will not be allowed in front of convenience stores in Taichung. (Health Bureau photo)

Smoking will not be allowed in front of convenience stores in Taichung. (Health Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taichung City Government announced Monday (Dec. 30) that smoking will no longer be allowed near approximately 1,400 pedestrian overhangs and storefronts starting Wednesday (Jan. 1).

According to the Taichung City Government's Health Bureau, the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) did not originally list pedestrian overhangs as smoke-free zones, but the government has decided to amend the regulation to safeguard citizens' health. To limit the negative impact of secondhand smoke on the city's environment, it will also prohibit smoking in front of major convenience store and coffee shop chains.

After imposing a smoking ban at all 400 bus stations of its bus stops, Taichung in 2016 became the first city in Taiwan to prohibit smoking in front of 66 convenience stores. In November of this year, the city government was able to reach a consensus with the four major convenience stores as well as popular coffee chains Starbucks, Louisa, and 85°C Bakery Café, to introduce the new ordinance at 1,400 locations, reported New Talk.

Tseng Tzu-Chan (曾梓展), director of the Taichung's Health Bureau, warned that failing to comply with the new law could result in fines as high as NT$10,000 (US$333). Businesses that provide cigarettes and smoking accessories under overhangs could receive an NT$10,000 (US$333) to NT$50,000 fine.

He added that smoking is detrimental to the body and urged Taichung residents to follow the new policy and create a non-smoking environment, reported CNA.