Sat, Nov 05, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taichung to ban smoking in some outdoor arcades

SECOND-HAND SMOKE:The ban is to be imposed on 38 convenience stores near roads or landmarks, as part of the city’s move to establish more non-smoking areas

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taichung City Government and four major convenience store chains are cooperating to introduce a ban on smoking in outdoor arcades starting in January.

The city government said it has long received public complaints about second-hand smoke in the major chainstores’ outdoor arcades, where smokers hang out.

Second-hand smoke is fourth on the list of the most common public complaints that the city receives by telephone, Taichung Health Bureau Director Hsu Yung-nien (徐永年) said.

The city government hopes to establish more non-smoking environments, and the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) provides a legal basis for implementing such as policy, as it allows the government to impose restrictions on public spaces, facilities and vehicles, Hsu said.

Currently the smoking ban on outdoor arcades only applies to hospitals and train stations.

Taichung has 1,200 convenience stores, and the city will phase in the ban by imposing it on 38 stores near roads or key landmarks starting in January.

Violators will be fined between NT$2,000 and NT$10,000, Hsu said.

Since September, the outlets have posted fliers about the new policy, he said, adding that sidewalks, roads or arcades in adjacent stores will not be included.

Convenience store owners said the ban would make it easier for them to deal with customer complaints about second-hand smoke.

As smoking is only banned inside the store, store clerks cannot ask customers smoking outside to stop, they said.

Once the new policy goes into effect next year, convenience stores will have the legal basis to ask smokers to leave if they are causing a problem, they said.

However, some smokers said that the city government was “reaching too far” with the regulations and said they hoped the policy would not be enforced.

Others said they are aware that most people do not like inhaling second-hand smoke, so they usually put some distance between themselves and non-smokers.

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