50% of shops sell minors cigarettes: Taipei City DOH
By Joy Lee ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Nearly 50 percent of shops failed inspections regarding the sale of cigarettes to minors, Taipei's Department of Health (DOH) announced yesterday.
September 17, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
The DOH sent college students aged over 18 years but wearing high-school uniforms to attempt to purchase cigarettes at 330 shops citywide.
According to the DOH, 50.6 percent of the shops turned down the requests of the disguised customers.
“However,” the DOH's Lin Li-ju (林莉茹) said, “only 15 percent of 60 betel nut stands passed the inspection, which put them as the worst-ranking among all the shops involved.”
In one DOH recording, a betel nut stand employees tells a disguised customer to next time not wear the high school uniform when wanting to purchasing tobacco from her.
“About 60.9 percent of the convenience stores passed the inspection.
Family Mart had the highest passing rate of 71.1 percent, followed by 7-Elaven's passing rate of 64.3 percent,” said Lin.
“The inspection result shows that tobacco sellers obviously do not have enough awareness of customers' appearances and ages, and some shops even intentionally did not give receipts to students or asked students to take off their school uniforms before selling them cigarettes.”
Lin said that the DOH cannot fine or punish those shops that did not pass the inspections as all the disguised customers were over 18 years old. It has, however, listed those shops for further inspections.
Lin said that the problem of teen smoking is prominent in the capital.
“According to DOH statistics, the teenager smoking rate in Taipei City is 13.38 percent, which is higher than the adult women's smoking rate of 5.8 percent.”
Under the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, anyone who provides tobacco products to teenagers under the age of 18 will be fined up to NT$50,000.
TMACT Urges Price Increase on Tobacco
The Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco (TMACT) yesterday urged legislators to support a Cabinet draft that would increase both the tobacco surcharge and tobacco tax, raising the price for a pack of cigarettes by NT$25.
If passed, the bill would increase the tobacco surcharge by NT$20 and the tobacco tax by NT$5.
The Health Promotion Administration said that if cigarette prices are increased to over NT$100 per pack, the average smoking rate will drop from 18.7 percent to 15 percent.