Sunday, 8 April 2012

Indonesia resists smoking ban

Indonesia is used for shock value: anyone can buy tobacco there. It has failed to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, although I find it hard to believe that countries that have ratified the treaty don't have child smokers in their population. (The first (and youngest ever) child smoker I saw was a boy of about 12 working in a restaurant in central Turkey. Admittedly this was several years before Turkey signed the FCTC. But I suspect that it happens in many, many places.)

The tobacco lobby appears stronger in Indonesia than it is here. Indonesia has tobacco farmers. A group supporting them have publicly demonstrated about threatened smoking legislation and complained about the strength of pharmaceutical lobbyists:  
[...] the 100 Percent Love Indonesia Coalition, which claims support from tobacco farmers and plantation owners across the country, said the decree was issued to support the marketing of products such as nicotine gum, inhalers, patches and other nicotine substitution products. 
Authorities in Indonesia remain reluctant to pass laws on smoking, allegedly because of potential harm to the tobacco operations in Indonesia. There is (of course) dispute about whether legislation would damage tobacco interests or only protect people from secondary smoke exposure. A tobacco control advocate claims that other countries with tobacco plantations have successfully passed tobacco control legislation with hurting farmers, but this may be similar to claims over here that the Irish smoking ban didn't hurt pubs.

The current bill against smoking, says Chairman of the Legislative Body Ignatius Mulyono, is biased towards the anti-tobacco lobby.
Ignatius was adamant that the risk to farmers and workers was not negligible. 
“All the parties have looked at the bill together and they believe it will threaten farmers,” he said. “If other countries have applied such regulations, that doesn’t mean we should too.” 
He said he fully supported protecting the public from the dangers of smoking through advertising bans and designating smoke-free areas, but said those policies should be developed with due consideration for the welfare of farmers and workers.
Doesn't that read like a normal politician? one who considers that his role is to serve the public? He will consider a bill that will give due consideration to the livelihoods of those whose livelihoods depends on tobacco.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes one of the few true normal politicians left in the world! All our politicians in the West KowTow to the likes of ASH et al!
Just a note - Indonesian cigarettes are great - flavoured with cloves. Really nice, I wish we had them here.