Tung foundation urges stricter laws

The China Post staff

The anti-smoking John Tung Foundation yesterday urged lawmakers to draft stricter rules to prevent tobacco suppliers to using legal loopholes to promote smoking. Yesterday was national Anti-Smoking Day. Yeh Ching-chuan, chief executive officer of the foundation, said the current rules in the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Law bans TV commercials for tobacco products. However, a Japanese tobacco company has long been using the schemes of selling products like wrist watches that bear the same brand name of their cigarettes in TV commercials. Sales of the company’s cigarettes enjoyed increasing sales as a result of the commercial. Further investigation by the foundation and a legal firm shows that the company selling the watches bearing similar names to cigarette brand name is registered as an apparel firm but it was the Japanese tobacco company which applied for the brand name. Yeh said the lack of adequate regulations creates the loophole allows unethical merchants to promote smoking with peripheral products. The foundation had in the past exposed the practice of another foreign tobacco firm, which promotes its cigarettes with coffee bearing the same brand name. While attacking the Japanese cigarette company, the foundation also became target of a lawsuit on Anti-Smoking Day. 3-D Scientific Development, Inc. filed a libel suit against the foundation at the Taipei Prosecutors’ Office. The company charged the foundation with marring the firm’s reputation by alleging the firm is encouraging smoking while the filters of company are designed to help addicted smokers quit in a gradual process.

3DSD said its GreenBall cigarette filters can effectively absorb up to 90 percent of nicotine, and eliminate up to 75 percent of toxic substances in cigarettes. The company, based in Sanchung, Taipei County, said the invention has won patent rights for 20 years in the United States. The firm complained about the remarks of an executive at John Tung Foundation on May 29 that 3DSD is using legal loopholes to encourage smoking. The foundation declined to comment on the 3DSD action. But it cited international research and experiments showing that there is no such thing as safe smoking auxiliary products or any means way of safe smoking.