Taiwan - soon smokers will need to carry ashtrays..

January 14, 2010 - On November 30, 2009 we reported that Taiwan plans to ban people from smoking while walking and riding motorbikes next year.

Smokers who don’t carry an ashtray with them to discard their cigarette butts and ash could face fines of up to NT$6,000 (188.85 USD), reports said Tuesday, January 12th. The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is also planning to ban smoking while riding a motorcycle.

If people are smoking in a place where no ashtray or trash can is available, they have to carry an ashtray, a bag or a box with them to deposit their cigarette butts and the ash, or they will face fines ranging from NT$1,200 (37.77 USD) to NT$6,000 (188.85 USD), the EPA said.

Last year, the EPA entrusted the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research with the task to study public opinion about smoking and its pollution. According to the results of the survey presented Tuesday, January 12th 53.2 percent of respondents wanted tougher action and higher fines against dropping cigarette butts on the street. The EPA said 57.9 percent opposed smoking while walking outside, while 84.4 percent wanted a ban on smoking while driving or riding a motorcycle. The survey produced 1,067 valid responses by citizens aged 15 and over, the EPA said.

The government’s environmental department wants to include the proposals in future amendments of environmental and public hygiene legislation. Trash from cigarettes should be treated in the same way as other garbage, the EPA said, adding local government regulations might also be changed to include the new anti-smoking measures. Banning motorcyclists from smoking while riding would form the centerpiece of the new campaign, according to the EPA.

Taiwan introduced an indoor smoking ban a year ago, covering airports and railway stations as well as restaurants and offices with three or more staff.

Lung cancer has long been a leading cause of death in Taiwan, which has about five million smokers out of a total population of 23 million, according to the government.

Reference: Taiwan wants smokers to carry ashtrays, Taiwan News, Staff Writer, 1/10/2009.

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