Last week, a 17-year teenager suffered damage to her spinal nerve after inhaling laughing gas and was paralyzed for life. It's not difficult for teenagers to get their hands on laughing gas, and the legislators have called on the government to implement stricter laws. Also, several legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party have proposed to reduce tobacco tax ahead of the presidential election. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung responded by saying that there's currently on plan to adjust the tax.
Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is often used as anesthesia before medical operations. However, industrial laughing gas is currently not regulated by any law. The Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital has seen a number of patients who suffered from nerve damage after inhaling laughing gas, and they are all teenagers. Some legislators have called on the implementation of stricter laws on industrial laughing gas and to punish those who violate the law.
Those who sell laughing gas for non-medical purposes, such as the kind of gas for industrial or recreational use, should be subject to more severe punishment because these types of gas tend to be less pure.
After the Tsai Ing-wen administration took power, it decided to raise tobacco tax by NT$ 20 per pack of cigarettes, generating an additional NT$ 23.3 billion in tax revenue to support the long-term care system. However, there have been rumors that some DPP legislators propose to lower the tobacco tax to appeal to some voters. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung reiterates that there's no plan to adjust tobacco tax.
We've always aimed to reduce smoking among the general public. Therefore, it's important to maintain a certain amount of tax to limit the purchase of cigarettes.
Chen stresses that smoking is bad for health and the government aims to raise tax to limit the purchase of cigarettes, and that there's no plan to adjust the tax. Chen also says he will hold discussion with officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the regulation of laughing gas in order to reduce potential injuries in the future.