Friday, October 10, 2008

Anti Tobacco Lawsuit

We all know that cigarette smoking is very unhealthy, this fact is clearly mentioned on the warning on every package of cigarettes. And in the year 2003 the World Health Organization adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which urged for the limitation of Cigarette smoking, among others by imposing higher Tax. It has been ratified by 157 countries, except for Indonesia. This is an irony, because according to the National Economy and Social surveys conducted in 2003-2005, Cigarette is the Second biggest expenditure of poor families in Indonesia, after Rice. However, it is seemingly very difficult to control the sales-purchase of cigarettes, perhaps because Cigarettes contributes high revenue for the government, and its factories absorbs many workers. Maybe those are the reasons why the Tobacco Bill is still pending in Parliament (DPR) since 2005.
Sick and tired of the situation, on 19 July 2008, four Anti Tobacco NGOs i.e the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI), the Jakarta Residents Forum (FAKTA), the Institute for Combatting Smoking (LM3) and the Coalition for a Healthy Indonesia (KUIS) filed a lawsuit against the government and 2 cigarette manufacturers, with the District Court of Central Jakarta. The objectives are to force the government and parliament to ratify the World Health Organization's FCTC, and to make the Parliament to finalize the Tobacco Bill by the year 2008/2009. As usual, the Court asked the disputing parties to settle the dispute amicably, but somehow mediation broke down at the end of August. Until 10 October, no progress has been made because the government representatives were not present.

Considering that cigarette smoking in Indonesia has reached a very alarming situation whereby we can easily see every day people from all walks of life, smoking cigarettes almost everywhere, it is about time to intensify the anti tobacco campaign. This doesn't mean that cigarettes should banned, only limitations should be more strict, for example by forbidding smoking in public places.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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