Tue, Feb 21, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Bus shelter smoking ban starts in Taipei next week

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A woman flags down a bus at a bus stop in New Taipei City yesterday.

Photo: Chang Yi-chen, Taipei Times

Starting Wednesday next week, smoking will be prohibited at 1,150 bus shelters at 932 bus stops in Taipei, the Taipei Department of Health said yesterday.

Article 15 of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) states that those who smoke at bus stops face a fine of between NT$1,200 and NT$10,000, the department said.

Taipei Department of Health Secretary-General Lee Pi-hui (李碧慧) said although the act does not list bus stops, arcades, sidewalks or crowded outdoor venues as non-smoking areas, the department in 2014 collaborated with several other city government agencies to enact a smoking ban at 155 bus shelters on 13 exclusive bus lanes in Taipei.

The department conducted surveys in 2014 and 2015 to test public opinion on non-smoking bus shelters and the results showed 94 percent and 95 percent of respondents in the two respective years supported the restriction.

The department has also received petitions from people demanding a smoking ban at all bus shelters, Lee said.

Lee said the department has been promoting the policy to the public through various channels since Jan. 1.

The Taipei Department of Environmental Protection said it would also fine people who throw cigarette butts on the ground — NT$1,200 for a first offense, NT$3,600 for the second and up to NT$5,000 for the third.

Taipei Public Transportation Office Director Chang Hua-chen (常華珍) said the office has posted no smoking signs on bus shelters and bus companies have promoted the policy in their buses.

The office plans to send inspectors to check bus shelters once the ban takes effect, Chang said.

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