In Indonesia, an anti tobacco bill, which was initially raised in the House of Representatives in the year 2009, has been suddenly dropped from the priority listing. According to the house staff member, Rohani Budi Prihatin, “Apparently, the main reason why this bill was dropped was because industry players were of the opinion that it would not prove to be good for the industry, on a whole. This has been probably done to avoid hurting the big players of the industry.”

 

It has now been predicted that the legislators are simply unwilling to revive this bill for reasons unknown. According to Rohani Budi Prihatin, “The draft of the bill has already been prepared, yet none of the house members is ready to take action on it and most of them prefer to remain silent and not comment on the matter.” Nonetheless, according to the chairperson of the house of legislatives, Ignatius Mulyono, “In order to act upon such a bill, the entire legislation procedure would need to undergo a drastic change and several revisions would need to be incorporated into the existing bill before anything concrete comes up.”

Apparently, the main reason why this bill was dropped was because it came across as a one sided affair and was against the tobacco lobby, while being biased towards the anti tobacco organizations. Nonetheless, the proposed bill is correct, as per several drafting members of the bill. All it does is prevent people from smoking near schools and hospitals. It also suggests that cigarette packs should carry graphic labels to warm new smokers to steer clear of them. At the same time, the bill also proposes that the government raises the taxes on tobacco products. It has also been proposed under the bill that advertisements of tobacco products be banned and that several new clinics be opened, which can help smokers quit smoking permanently.

Several anti tobacco campaigners including Rohani were of the opinion that the proposed bill would have no adverse impact on tobacco farmers. The main aim of implementing this bill is to simply safeguard the general public from the menace of tobacco products. On the other hand, Ignatius Mulyono was not in favor of accepting the bill and he went on to state that, “The main reason why we are not looking into it as of now is because, this bill directly threatens the farmers. If other countries had accepted such bills in the recent past, it does not imply that Indonesia would follow suit.”

While Ignatius Mulyono was of the opinion that the Indonesian public should be saved from the highly offensive second hand smoke which emits from regular cigarettes and that an effort should be made to help smokers to quit their bad habit, he was also of the opinion that anti tobacco campaigns should never adversely affect the farmers who are indulged in cultivating tobacco or the workers, who are engaged in the tobacco manufacturing profession. He was of the opinion that a bill can certainly be drafted but it needs to be done in such a manner that it helps protect the public without hampering the lives of the farmers or workers engaged in the tobacco manufacturing process.