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Legislature to review tobacco, alcohol ads, warnings

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislative Yuan will review over 20 versions of amendments to the tobacco and alcohol administration act on Wednesday. These include banning tobacco and alcohol ads while increasing the size of warning signs.

Many alcohol and tobacco sellers said that all the new regulations included in the amendments could severely influence the market.

According to officials of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), based on the current regulations, the warning labels printed on the packages of tobacco and alcohol products already have alerting effects.

The current regulations state that warning labels have to cover 10 percent of all kinds of alcohol ads. Many alcohol sellers said that if the warning labels are required to cover a larger percentage of the package, it might affect the exterior appearance of the products.

The MOF said that the new regulations have been applied to the warning labels on alcohol products, including rules that state the letters of the labe*ls have to exceed 2.65 millimeters.

According to the MOF, the original warning label stating “Please do not drink if you are a minor” will be replaced with “Drinking is forbidden for people under 18 years old.”

Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. General Manager Yang Su-min said that the current tobacco and alcohol administration act already strictly regulates ads for alcohol products, such as the content of the ads and the time bracket in which the ads are broadcast.

Yang said that if the regulations are revised to enlarge the coverage of warning labels on ads of alcohol products from 10 percent to 30 percent, it might create problems for the sellers.

Two Basketball Teams Sponsored by Liquor Companies Could Be Dismissed

Professor of the National Open University's Department of Public Administration Lee Yun-jie (李允傑) said that if the amendment to forbid tobacco and alcohol promotion is passed, two basketball teams sponsored by the liquor companies could be dismissed.

“It is such a shame to forbid sponsorship from liquor companies,” said Lee. “In many developed countries such as in Europe or the U.S., sponsorship from liquor companies is a major part of the sports field.”

Lee said that the government should not ban liquor companies' sponsorship because of the effect that it might have to the development of the fields of sports and art.

“Instead of banning liquor ads and sponsorships, the government should promote drunk driving regulations and hand out strict punishments for any drunk drivers,” said Lee.

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