Thu, Apr 28, 2005 - Page 4 News List

`Longlife' name unlikely to live very much longer

CNA , TAIPEI

The name of the nation's major cigarette brand will no longer be "Longlife" once a much-tougher amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Act (菸害防治法) is passed and implemented, government sources said yesterday.

The amendment -- passed by the Executive Yuan yesterday and to be soon submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval -- stipulates that all words and phrases hinting that cigarettes are "mild," "low tar," or "may lead people to mistakenly believe that smoking does not impair health" will be banned from packs or containers of cigarettes.

Smokers and dealers' days in the future are seen to be more difficult, as the amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Act is carrying much tougher articles than before, including that tobacco tax, imposed to finance the cash-strapped national health insurance program, will be raised from NT$5 to NT$10 per pack.

Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) has also instructed that in the future, the tobacco tax will be imposed based on the unit price of the cigarette packs, meaning that smokers will have to pay more than NT$10 for tax upon each purchase of higher-priced cigarettes.

The amendment also imposes much stricter regulations on tobacco advertising or sponsorship of events.

No-smoking areas will also be increased noticeably -- extending to college and university campuses, buses and MRT systems, taxis, karaoke clubs, Internet parlors and other indoor public places.

Violators, whether they are cigarette manufacturers or importers, will face fines ranging from NT$500,000 (US$15,800) to NT$2.5 million per violation. If they are advertising agents or media outlets, they will face fines ranging from NT$200,000 to NT$1 million per violation.

Selling cigarettes in places where smoking is prohibited will also be banned, with violators facing fines from NT$2,000 to NT$10,000 per violation, according to the amendment.

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