Indonesia - by banning smoking inside buildings smokers could be considered criminals.

November 29, 2010 - The National Clove Cigarette Community called for the repeal of a gubernatorial decree banning smoking inside buildings, saying the regulation treated smokers as criminals. This community said in a press conference Thursday, November 25th that the decree lowered the status of law-abiding cigarette smokers to that of criminals who had to be socially exiled. “For us, the city administration has completely discriminated against smokers, who are clearly consumers of legal products and who deserve the same legal protection,” community coordinator Abhisam said.

Background: Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo announced on Friday, May 21st that a city bylaw to totally ban smoking in all public buildings would soon be finalized. If the ban is treated seriously, unlike earlier attempts to restrict smoking in public areas, Jakarta could finally join the growing list of major cities around the world that have virtually eliminated smoking inside bars, restaurants, offices and shopping malls.

As an interim measure, issued a decree to revise a widely ignored 2005 bylaw on smoke-free areas that mandated the creation of smoking rooms in public buildings.
Under the 2005 bylaw, smokers can be fined Rp 50 million ($5,400) or even jailed for six months for violating the ban, but enforcement has been virtually nonexistent.

The revised bylaw, which still has to be ratified by the City Council, states that smoking areas have to be separated physically from any public building and cannot be located next to an entrance or exit door. This would replace the current system of smoking rooms.

The gubernatorial decree, which makes smoking inside buildings or even near entrances and exits a fineable offense, has been a sore point not just for smokers across the capital, but also the entertainment and tourism industries who believe it will adversely impact their business. Jakarta’s Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD), late last month said the ban would be enforced at entertainment and tourism venues, offices, shopping malls, schools, health clinics and hospitals. (Full Public Smoking Ban, Ulma Haryanto, Jakarta Globe, 5/21/2010)

On November 1st protesters from the so-called 100 Percent Love Indonesia Coalition, a pro-tobacco lobby group representing tobacco farmers and the cigarette industry, rallying in front of Governor Fauzi Bowo’s office in Central Jakarta on Monday to demand the city administration revoke a recently issued gubernatorial decree banning smoking inside public buildings. (Protesters Rail Against Indonesia Smoke Ban, Arientha Primanita, Jakarta Globe, 11/1/2010)
Pro-smoking advocates had previously alleged that anti-tobacco groups, and the issuance of the decree, were backed by multi-national pharmaceutical companies through the Bloomberg Initiative, and that their main goal was to bring down Indonesia’s clove cigarette industry. “Clove cigarettes are an Indonesian trademark. There is no other place in the world that can produce high quality clove cigarettes,” Abhisam said.

The National Commission for Tobacco Control claims 65 million people consume cigarettes in Indonesia, with the largest segment of smokers between the ages of 15 and 19. Of the total number of smokers, 65 percent are men, while 80 percent of smokers use clove-flavored cigarettes, or kretek. The commission also said that 70 percent of smokers in Indonesia were from low – to middle-income families.

Indonesia - paradise for smokers and paradise for tobacco companies...

Reference: Smokers treated like criminals: Group, Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, 11/26/2010.

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