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Tobacco and alcohol regulatory amendments greenlighted

To better regulate tobacco and alcohol products, the Executive Yuan today passed amendments to the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act. They will be sent to the Legislature for deliberation.

The Act, which has been effective since January 2002, must be adapted to meet current social needs, the Ministry of Finance said. Control of undenatured ethyl alcohol, regulation of producers, importers, packaging and advertising, and measures against illegal and disqualified products will be strengthened. Meanwhile, administration will be streamlined through the relaxation of regulations.

The amendments include the following:
1. Illegal tobacco and alcohol are more clearly defined. Imported tobacco or alcohol at or above a certain volume that is unreported, underreported or misreported to or concealed from the customs authority, including that of an import license holder, is illegal. (Article 6)
2. Alcoholic beverages made with alcohol which fails to meet the country's food standards is considered disqualified. (Article 7)
3. Limits to alcohol output by non-joint-stock companies are removed. (Article 9)
4. The central competent authority shall revoke licenses of producers and importers whose permits have expired or who have ceased production. (Article 15)
5. Tobacco and alcohol importers are required to pay annual license fees. If a producer or importer who has received notice that it has yet to pay the fee and fails to pay it within the subsequent warning period, its license may be revoked. (Article 23)
6. In consideration that commissioning the production of tobacco or alcohol is a private economic activity, the stipulation that producers must receive permission from the central competent authority before proceeding with commissions has been abolished, as has the accompanying penalty. (Article 29)
7. Alcohol sold in a plastic or paper container must include its expiration date or packaging date on the container. (Article 32)
8. Alcohol advertisements or marketing must clearly display the warning "drunk driving is illegal" and may not implicitly or explicitly imply the product has health benefits. (Article 36).
9. Producers of alcoholic beverages made with alcohol that fails to meet the country's food standards shall be punished by imprisonment or fine. (Article 46)
10. Penalties are increased for persons who produce, import, sell, transport or transfer alcohol or tobacco that is especially hazardous to human health and for persons who show the intent to sell, transport or transfer by displaying or storing such alcohol. (Articles 46-47)
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