Most workplaces enforce smoking ban


CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — More than half of Taiwan’s workplaces have enforced a non-smoking policy, in keeping with government regulations that will take effect next year, the results of a recent survey indicated.

Some 55.8 percent of Taiwan’s corporations have declared their premises smoke-free, according to a survey released by the Bureau of Health Promotion (BHP) under the Cabinet-level Department of Health.

Another 17.7 percent have designated indoor smoking areas, while 25.5 percent maintain no restrictions on smoking, the survey showed.

The survey also found that 63.6 percent of the respondents were aware of the government’s new initiative, with 17 percent of that number knowing the exact implementation date.

The government adopted a package of amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act on July 11 to impose stricter anti-smoking regulations starting Jan. 11 next year.

The regulation prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces that are occupied by more than three people, as well as in all public areas within a workplace, such as stairwells and hallways, which are often used as “smoking zones.”

Workplaces caught breaking the rule will be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000, and individual violators will be subject to fines of NT$2,000 to NT$10,000.

Meanwhile, the survey showed that since 2003 when a smoke-free project was launched, the rate of smoking at worksites in Taiwan has dropped from 24.2 percent to 20 percent this year. Alongside that drop, the rate of people quitting smoking has risen from 5.8 percent in 2003 to 11 percent this year, according to the poll.

The figures demonstrate a higher level of public awareness of the dangers of smoking and breathing second-hand smoke, and greater sensitivity to the issue, the survey indicated.

The highest rate of smoking was recorded among construction workers and those in the transportation and storage industry, at 39.5 percent and 34 percent, respectively.