Celebrity group S.H.E and the John Tung Foundation yesterday urged the public to help create a smoke-free environment by actively reporting those who violate the new Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act (菸害防治法).
The amendment not only indirectly raises the price of cigarettes by doubling the tobacco health and welfare surcharge, but also prohibits smoking in public spaces including schools with students in grade 12 or under, government agencies, financial institutions, public transportation, offices with three or more people, restaurants, hotels and shopping areas. It goes into effect on Jan. 11.
“Sixty-nine countries in the world are now enforcing policies on smoke-free environments. This amendment allows Taiwan to catch up with those countries,” said Milton Shieh (謝孟雄), chairman of the anti-smoking John Tung Foundation.
At the film studio where the teen idols were preparing to shoot a TV commercial promoting smoke-free environments, S.H.E shared personal stories about their fight against smoking.
Because of the nature of her work, Selina said she often sees people smoking in smoking rooms, adding that this looked like a way of committing suicide.
Many people only quit smoking when they discover they have health problems, but if people refused cigarettes when they were young, they would avoid such painful experiences when older, she said.
The Bureau of Health Promotion has announced that those who see individuals or businesses violating the new act after it comes into effect next month can report them by providing local health departments with basic information about the violators, as well as photos or videos, if available, to serve as evidence.
Those who are afraid that reporting violations would offend fellow coworkers can instead contact the foundation, which would then report the case to local health departments, said Lin Ching-li (林清麗), chief of the foundation’s tobacco hazard prevention section.