Taipei to ban smoking at areas around MRT Ximen Station from July 1

Violators to be fined up to NT$10,000 (US$339)

The Red House in Ximenting (Travel Taipei website photo)

The Red House in Ximenting (Travel Taipei website photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Smoking will not be allowed at areas surrounding a Taipei Metro station in the boisterous western district of Ximenting starting July 1, and violators will face a fine of up to NT$10,000 (US$339).

Non-smoking areas include pedestrian walks and squares near exit 1 and 6 of the MRT Ximen Station, as well as the plazas in front of the New World Building (新世界大樓) and historic theater the Red House (紅樓), reported Liberty Times. Green markings and signs will be installed indicating cigarette use is banned.

Violators will be given a warning during the grace period throughout July. As of August, smoking in the banned areas will incur a fine between NT$2,000 and NT$10,000 in compliance with the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act. Those who litter cigarette butts are also subject to a penalty ranging from NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 as per the Waste Disposal Act.

The move is part of the capital's effort to create a smoke-free environment and boost tourism. Dubbed the mecca for youth culture, the Ximenting neighborhood is a tourist magnet that will see its appeal increased from the air pollution reduction policy, said the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The policy is being implemented based on the success of a similar measure introduced in 2016 to the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Plaza, which also draws significant numbers of international tourists, according to DEP. Taipei Main Station and the surrounding areas will be the next to impose a smoking ban in 2021, wrote Liberty Times.

MRT Ximen Station square (CNA photo)