Taipei’s First Funeral Parlor and Second Funeral Parlor will be the first funeral venue to become smoke-free in Taiwan. According to Department of Health of Taipei City Government, there will be seven areas designated for smoking in the two funeral homes combined. People who smoke outside the smoking areas will be fined between NTD2,000 (USD66.45) and NTD10,000 (USD332.26) under the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act except for several designated outdoor smoking areas.
The inside of the funeral halls and buildings is already smoke-free. Starting in October, all outdoor places except for designated smoking areas are prohibited from smoking. First Funeral Parlor will set up 4 smoking areas and Second Funeral Parlor will set up 3 smoking areas.
“Funeral home is a solemn place of funeral services for the deceased and their families, but civilian, funeral workers and morticians often smoke and leave cigarette butts near the auditorium and crematorium,” said Director Wu Kun-hung (吳坤宏) of Taipei Mortuary Services Office. Wu pointed out, several people complained by calling Taipei citizen hotline phone number 1999. Smoking and littering outside the auditorium were undignified behavior while paying respect to the deceased. Thus they requested the city government to designate the sacred place as smoke-free.
According to Taipei Mortuary Services Office, littering of cigarette butts not only created a negative image, but it was an environmental eyesore which can clog the sewers. With the heavy rainfall last month, the Second Funeral Parlor was flooded with a water level above the knee. Later, they discovered cigarette butts under the drain covers.
The Office will work with the Department of Health to mark the smoking areas with red lines and perhaps build covered patios and umbrellas inside the red lines in the near future.