Station sidewalk ban for smokers

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Nov 02, 2012 - Page 3

Sidewalks around Taipei City Hall station are now strictly non-smoking, to prevent passers-by from inhaling second-hand smoke, the city government’s Department of Health said yesterday.

The transfer station is a multi-story building housing an MRT station, bus station and department stores, with large numbers of people coming and going, so in accordance with the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法), the sidewalks around the building are now strictly non-smoking areas, the department said.

The department said it was the first time sidewalks around a building had been designated as non-smoking, adding that violators could be fined between NT$2,000 and NT$10,000.

The department’s health promotion division chief, Lin Li-ju (林莉茹), said that should businesses or other locations wish to help limit outdoor second-hand smoke inhalation, they may submit a local area smoke control proposal to the department.

After a visit to the site by department officials and following negotiations with the management of units and with landowners, the city government is able to enforce smoking prohibition sectors and designate smoking areas, Lin said.

If the department receives no opposition within two weeks of announcing a smoke control order, it would then be able to formally designate a location as a strictly non-smoking area.

The department’s statistics show a total of 45 outdoor areas in Taipei — including the recent addition of the City Hall transfer station — are designated non-smoking areas, including the First and Second Funeral Parlors under the Taipei Mortuary Services Office, the Taipei Expo Park and outdoor areas outside the Shihlin Official Residence’s main building.

Department statistics also show that it has given out 92 fines for smoking violations to date, generating NT$189,000 (US$6,464) in revenue.