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 Think Twice Before Lighting Up on Denpasar’s Smoke-Free Streets: Mayor

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BerichtOnderwerp: Think Twice Before Lighting Up on Denpasar’s Smoke-Free Streets: Mayor   ma 3 nov 2014 - 1:54

The Jakarta Globe, Nov 02, 2014

Denpasar, Bali’s capital aims to tighten enforcement of tobacco control laws and make public spaces in Indonesia’s most popular destination smoke-free.

“The goal is, in the future people can no longer smoke mindlessly, even in an open space or protocol streets. They can only smoke in the provided smoking corners,” Denpasar mayor Ida Bagus Rai Dharmawijaya Mantra told the Jakarta Globe during the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona, Spain.

Mantra said Denpasar’s residents and visitors will soon begin seeing the city government’s efforts to implement a bylaw on tobacco control, initially enacted in 2013, that heavily regulates smoking in public.

In December, the city plans to begin communicating messages to the public and tourists informing them of the regulation and penalties violating it, he said.

Denpasar’s government also plans to not to extend contracts for outdoor cigarette advertising, nor would it grant new licenses, Ida said.

“We’re now preparing all the necessary signage to inform [people] about the smoking prohibition and the fine. After six months to one year we will begin stricter law enforcement, because if you enforce the regulation without introducing it first, people will complain,” Mantra said.

“The goal is to be like Singapore, where people cannot smoke mindlessly where ever they like,” he added.

Mantra said he was not too concerned that controls on smoking in public spaces might affect the city’s tourism income.

“I don’t think tourists would mind — especially the foreign tourists. In their countries, tobacco control regulations are already more established, so they should be used to it,” he said.

Mantra acknowledged that many tourists enjoyed smoking in public spaces. However, he said, many others do not. Denpasar’s plans for stricter enforcement of smoking laws will apply to domestic and foreign tourists alike.

“It’s no longer about only lung health. It’s about saving our children from the dangers of smoking. I believe everybody loves their children, so they would not mind to sacrifice a bit,” he said, adding the restriction was expected to discourage people from smoking and may eventually motivate many to quit.

Mantra said, however, that it may be difficult to ensure Denpasar’s many convenience 24-hour convenience stores do not sell tobacco to children, in violation of the law’s minimum age for tobacco sales.

“We cannot rely only on Satpol PP [public order officers], so we must build a community-based approach involving the public and non-government organizations to monitor these properties,” he said.

Denpasar recently agreed to host a tobacco convention, the Inter-Tabac Asia earlier this year after many countries refused to host the conference. The event was cancelled amid heavy criticism from health professionals and activists.

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