In enforcing the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, The Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government dispatches officials to enforce the ban on smoking in public places during evenings, in collaboration with the police’s unannounced inspections, starting this month.
The Health Department found out that business operators have soap trays placed on top of commodes or urinals serving as if they were ashtrays to skirt the law. These businesses were fined according to the Act. The Department continued to crack down this type of violations urged businesses to remove soap trays.
Health Management Division of the Bureau of Health in Kaohsiung City pointed out, since Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act took effect three years ago, the number of violations fined by the city increased from 751 in 2010 to 1,841 in 2011, with a total fine exceeding NT$4,000,000 (US$135,313). When the Health Bureau worked with the police to inspect business premises such as KTV and Internet cafe, they found that smokers were smoking and business owners had made ashtrays available. Nine violation incidents were reported that night.
Health Management Division Chief Su-Hua Li (李素華) said, Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act states that business owners of smoke-free establishments are prohibited from providing ashtrays, and yet inspectors found paper cups or glasses serving as ashtrays or trays for soap placed on top of commodes or urinals. Contrary to the claim by the owners for the use of the trays, they were clearly intended for cigarettes ash. After all, the inspectors viewed paper cups and soap trays as smoking-related items and fines were imposed.