Calling all smokers in Bali: The end is nigh

Calling all smokers in Bali: The end is nigh

Stub out the Sampoernas and Gudang Garams, a new law will soon ban public smoking in Bali
Thank you for not smoking in paradise.

It was only a matter of time before the long arm of the anti-smoking legislators reached the Isle of the Gods.

On Monday, public smoking was banned in Bali.

According to The Jakarta Post, the smoke-free zone bylaw states that hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, places of worship, healthcare facilities and schools are to be smoke-free areas.

Smoking and advertising for tobacco products have also been banned in playgrounds, traditional and modern markets, transportation terminals, airports, government offices and on public transportation.

Anyone violating the bylaw faces up to six months’ imprisonment and a 50 million rupiah (US$5,500) fine.

For now, the exact date when the law will go into full effect is not yet known.

“I want all people to be healthy and the bylaw is an implementation of the 2009 Health Law,” Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told The Jakarta Globe.

The governor is under no illusions about the challenges of implementing the ban.

“Regarding this smoking ban in tourism centers, I think tourists will understand. Instead, it is Bali’s people who often do not understand.”

Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, chairman of the Bali Tourism Board, said officials might have trouble enforcing the regulation in public facilities like the Bali Legislative Council (DPRD) building, where the bylaw was passed on Monday.

“Every time I am invited for a hearing at the DPRD, members smoke in the meeting room,” he said.

Smoking is an issue in Bali; according to a 2010 report, 31 percent of the province’s population aged 10 and above were smokers, up from 24.9 percent in 2007.

Indonesia is one of the few countries which has not yet ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which calls for comprehensive tobacco control regulations.

According to the World Lung Foundation, more than 60 percent of Indonesian men smoke and 30 percent of Indonesian youth have smoked their first cigarette before they turn 10 years old.

While a similar law has been passed in Jakarta, enforcement has been lax; perhaps they'll have more luck with Bali.