The Transport Ministry said Wednesday that it will abolish administrative procedures required for taxi companies to operate nonsmoking cars, freely allowing them to refuse smoking passengers beginning in August.

Under current regulations, a taxi operator is required to seek permission from a local bureau of the Transport Ministry to operate nonsmoking taxis.

A cab displaying a nonsmoking sticker will be able to ask passengers to stop smoking and refuse them a ride if they continue to smoke, the ministry said.

The ministry has decided to abolish the procedures taking into account the recent increase in support for nonsmoking movements, officials said.

As of Tuesday, 21 corporate taxi operators and 380 owner-driver taxis had obtained permission to operate nonsmoking cabs, according to the ministry.