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Cross-partisan anti-smoking patrol set up in legislature

Cross-partisan anti-smoking patrol set up in legislature

Taipei, Jan. 13 (CNA) Several female legislators from across party lines announced Tuesday their formation of an anti-smoking patrol to be on guard within the Legislative Yuan complex for violations of the country's new smoking ban.
The "smoke-free angel" patrol team will make senior legislators with long smoking histories their top targets, according to Chiang Lin-chun and Chang Chia-chun from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and Chen Ying from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
On the list are KMT caucus whip Chang Sho-wen and KMT Legislator Shuai Hua-ming as well as DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming.
Also under the watchful eyes of the patrol will be legislative aides and reporters appearing in the legislature's complex.
Chen complained that many non-smoking members of the legislature have long been annoyed at the tobacco smoke produced by their senior colleagues but have been too shy to protest publicly.
"The patrol team will fight for everybody's right to breathe fresh air and reject the secondhand smoke of these long-term smokers," Chen said.
According to Chang Chia-chun, the patrol will focus on spots where the smokers have often congregated, such as the speaker's lounge at the back of the main assembly hall, the third floor of the assembly hall where inter-party consultations are often held and the stairwell of legislators' office building.
To encourage senior lawmakers to quit smoking, Ker and Chang Sho-wen will be evaluated on their relative efforts to reduce smoking within the coming month, Chiang said.
Shuai, however, likened the patrol to the class struggle seen during the Cultural Revolution in China and urged his colleagues to avoid resorting to such extreme action.
Under an amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, which took effect Jan. 11, smoking is not allowed on public transport or in the indoor areas of most public premises, including roofed transportation stations, KTV parlors, Internet cafes and comic-book stores.
Smoking is also forbidden in offices manned by three or more people.
Only four kinds of establishments, namely hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and nursing homes for the elderly, are allowed to set up smoking rooms that must meet various strict requirements.
The law mandates a fine of up to NT$10,000 (US$301) for those who smoke in establishments where smoking is prohibited and up to NT$50,000 for the owners of these premises.
The only places in which smoking is allowed indoors are night spots that open after 9 p.m. and are not permitted to admit patrons under the age of 18, according to the law.
(By Y.F. Low)




Updated : 2021-10-20 11:05 GMT+08:00