Taipei, Jan. 13 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act that would raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 20 and impose a ban on electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco products.
The draft amendment, proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, now has to be sent to the Legislature for deliberation.
According to the proposal, the legal smoking age would be raised to 20, with those found in violation of the regulations facing a fine ranging from NT$2,000 (US$72) to NT$10,000.
The manufacture, import, sale, supply, display, advertising and use of all tobacco-like products, including e-cigarettes, would be forbidden.
Violators could face a fine ranging from NT$10 million to NT$50 million, the bill stipulates.
Tobacco products with flavors such as fruit, flower, chocolate, mint, or other banned additives would also be banned.
It also provides a legal basis for the regulation of new and emerging tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products (HTPs).
It stipulates that suppliers of new tobacco products with unknown health risks should file an application for assessments of their products within a specific period of time before they are allowed to manufacture or import these products for sale in Taiwan. If they breach this rule, they could face a fine of up to NT$50 million.
The proposed amendment also expands smoking ban to certain spaces, including colleges and universities, kindergartens, baby care centers, and in-home child care locations, while listing bars and nightclubs as establishments where smoking is only allowed in designated rooms or areas.
The proposal also includes a provision to increase the current warning graphic and text area on product packages from 35 percent to 85 percent of the total package surface.