Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Protection of Non Smokers

Last Sunday I took my wife and son for a lunch in Pondok Indah Mall. And as we were looking for the right restaurant we passed a special close area filled with people smoking cigarettes. Then my son asked me what is that closed area for, and I replied that the area is specially made for people who want to Smoke Cigarettes so that the Smokes would not be inhaled by other people who do not smoke cigarettes.

It is evident that smoking cigarette is dangerous for the health of cigarette smokers; as proven by the Surgeon General’s Warning in the packs of cigarettes. However, according to the World Health Organization, it is also dangerous for Non Smokers who are forced to inhale smoke of cigarettes exhaled by smokers, which could lead to health disturbances like Asthma, Lung Disease, Heart Disease, etc.
Based on these reasons, since the year 2003, our government has issued the Government Regulation No. 19 Year 2003 which stipulated that every provincial government should provide Non Smoking Area in public places. It stipulated areas forbidden for Smoking i.e Places for Prayer, Education, Public Transportation, Health Facility and other Pubic places like: Airport, Train stations, Bus terminals etc. But unfortunately, the implementation of those regulations is very poor.
Suara Pembaruan reported that five years after the issuance of said regulation only several regions have enacted local regulation regarding Non Smoking Area i.e Jakarta, Depok, Bogor, Bandung, Cirebon and recently Surabaya.
Jakarta has issued 2 Anti Smoking Regulations i.e. Regional Regulation No. 2 Year 2005 regarding Air Pollution and Governor Regulation No. 75 Year 2005 regarding Non Smoking Area, which will punish violators with punishment of up to 6 months imprisonment and fine up to Rp 50 million. However, it seems very difficult to enforce those laws, which can be seen from the fact that it is easy to find people smoking in area which are supposed to be Non Smoking Area. Although the Jakarta government has raided people smoking in public area, but considering that such raids were only carried out once in a while, therefore it does not stop people from smoking freely in public area.
Hukumonline reported that the method use for the raid has been opposed by the Director of the Indonesian Law Advocate and Aid Foundation i.e M. Ichsan who regretted that the government carried out the raids without informing the public about the existence of the Anti Smoking regulations. Such action would be effective for changing public behavior. He further stated that the public would respect the action if the government socializes the regulations first. This opinion is shared by the Chairman of the Forum of Jakarta Citizens i.e. Azaz Tigor Nainggolan who said that because the regulations were not socialized properly, many people do not know about their existence. He further said that the government should not merely pay attention on people smoking in public places but should also conduct frequent Air Emission Test on motor vehicles so that the air in our city would improve.
Starting today, Wednesday 19 November 2008, the Jakarta government will launch an operation to enforce those regulations very soon. If that really happens, then it would be great news for us Non Smokers. Let us keep our fingers crossed!

In conclusion, I felt that the Anti Smoking regulations should be implemented AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, because they have existed for so many years and smoking cigarettes is Hazardous not only for the Smokers but also for Non Smokers who inhaled the smoke. So by implementing those regulations, we would have a cleaner city for us and our family.


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