• June 21, 2024

Smoking rooms reprieved

 Smoking rooms reprieved

A draft amendment to Taiwan’s Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, scheduled to be sent to the Executive Yuan (cabinet) by the end of this month, is likely to allow the continued use of indoor smoking rooms in hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, according to a story in The Taipei Times quoting health officials.

A draft revision to the act, released in January by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA), was originally set to ban smoking in all indoor locations, which it stated was in accordance with findings that indoor partitions did not effectively prevent second-hand smoke from spreading.

But the HPA then said it would take 60 days to collect opinions from the public before finalizing the amendment and sending it to the cabinet for review.

HPA Deputy Director-General Yu Li-hui now says the agency plans to allow smoking lounges in some locations.

HPA official Lo Su-ying said the draft would continue to allow smoking lounges in hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and would not introduce a health surcharge on duty-free tobacco sold at airports, as was originally planned.

But the amendment, as announced in January, would treat electronic cigarettes as though they were traditional tobacco cigarettes, making it illegal to provide them to minors.

The John Tung Foundation, which focuses on public health issues and tobacco control, said 47 nations and territories forbade smoking in indoor public facilities and accused the HPA of neglecting its responsibility to safeguard people’s health.

Smoking has been illegal on sidewalks near schools in Taipei since December 26, and since January 1 it has been prohibited also at all of the city’s 932 bus stops.