Tue, Jul 15, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Center for tobacco-hazard complaints opens

CNA , TAIPEI

Two members of Taichung's Little Frog Troupe act out a skit arranged by Taipei City Government as part of its anti-smoking campaign. In the skit, a mouse, left, asks a wolf not to smoke in restaurants.

PHOTO: CHIEN JUNG-FENG, TAIPEI TIMES

A service center for tobacco hazards-related complaints was inaugurated yesterday as part of the government's anti-smoking campaign.

The Bureau of Health Promotion commissioned the non-profit John Tung Foundation to operate the new service center.

In the past, the private foundation could only send its volunteers to visit chief executives of companies or agencies where tobacco hazards occurred when it received complaints from individual citizens. Now the service center will be empowered to join city or county health bureaus in investigating tobacco-hazard complaints and issuing tickets to companies or agencies that violate the tobacco-hazards prevention law.

Department of Health Director General Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), John Tung Foundation chairman Lai Tung-ming (賴東明) and chief executive Yeh Chin-chuan (葉金川) as well as the foundation's volunteers, including actor Sun Yueh (孫越) and actress Chen Shu-li (陳淑麗), attended the center's inaugural ceremony.

Addressing the ceremony, Chen Chien-jen said there are 4.5 million smokers in the country and that about 18,000 die from smoking hazards annually.

"Smoking is even more detrimental to our people's health than hepatitis B," he said, adding that recent studies show that second-hand smoking would increase risks of contracting lung cancer among women.

Noting that the World Health Organization passed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control earlier this year, he said this country must not lag behind in anti-smoking campaigns.

The center has set up a toll-free complaint hotline (0800531531) and e-mail address (a531.a531@msa.hinet.net). The center said it will keep secret the identity of complainants.

To enhancing public awareness of the new center, the foundation will offer a NT$50,000 prize to the person who designs the best logo for the center. Those who are interested in taking part in the program should contact the center for more information.

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