The Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration has defended an upcoming ban on tobacco smoking in national parks by saying that subjecting people to second-hand smoke was a violation of their basic human rights, according to a story in the Taipei Times.
The administration was responding to a pro-smoking group’s accusation that restricting smokers from lighting up in national parks was unconstitutional.
Chen Shao-ting, chairman of the organizing committee of the Taiwan Smoker Rights Promotion Association, said the health ministry had overstepped its legal authority by banning smoking in national parks as of April 1 next year.
But Feng Tsung-yi, a section chief at the agency, said it was a matter of public interest for people to have the right to breathe fresh air, and ensuring that they could was part of the government’s duty.
“If you expose the majority of the people to an environment full of second-hand smoke, that would be a violation of their basic human rights,” he said.
Other administration officials said the government had been trying to extend no-smoking zones to pedestrian crossings, where smokers often lit up while waiting for traffic lights to change.
Category: Breaking News