Indonesia: Puffing on cigarettes in smoke-free areas still rampant: Survey finds

29 August 2019

Air pollution in Jakarta not only occurs outdoors but also indoors, as tobacco smoking is still widespread within smoke-free area in shopping malls and markets in Jakarta.

A recent survey conducted in June by the Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta) found that designated smoke-free areas in 60 percent of shopping malls are not actually free of smoke despite strings of regulations for smoking bans that have been in place for more than a decade.

The smoking ban was stipulated in City Bylaw No. 2/2005 on air pollution control and was enhanced in Gubernatorial Decree (Pergub) No. 75/2005 on non-smoking areas and Pergub No. 50/2012 on the supervision, monitoring and law enforcement of non-smoking areas.

Fakta’s division head of information and communications, Normansyah, said that the survey was conducted in 15 malls consisting of high-end ones including Taman Anggrek Mall in West Jakarta and Kelapa Gading Mall in North Jakarta, middle-range malls including City Plaza Jatinegara in East Jakarta and Blok M Plaza in South Jakarta, as well as low-end malls including ITC Roxy Mas in Central Jakarta and Pusat Grosir Cililitan in East Jakarta.

“The malls were chosen randomly with the consideration that they could represent all segments of society and spread in mayoralties in the capital city. The survey shows that violations of non-smoking areas occur primarily in middle to low-end malls,” said Normansyah on Monday.

The forum’s chairman Azas Tigor Nainggolan said that in supposedly non-smoking areas in malls, smokers, both visitors and tenants, still puff cigarettes in basements, parking lots and restaurants.

“It proves that Jakarta has a problem of air pollution not only outdoors, which is significantly caused by pollutants from vehicles, but also indoors from cigarette smoke,” said Tigor.

Tigor added that the aim of the survey was to determine the effectiveness of Pergub No. 50 on the law enforcement of smoking-free areas that prohibits smoking in several locations, namely public places, workplaces, teaching and learning places, health service places, public transportation, areas with children’s activities and places of worship.

“The survey was based on the standards defined in the decree, including the existence of cigarette smoke, non-smoking signs and cigarette litter, and the results shows that many malls were still violating them,” he said.

“We have just surveyed the public places, not yet the other non-smoking areas in the list, which can probably reveal more concerning violations,” he said.

The survey’ included Thamrin City, which had been given a warning for violating the smoking-free area rule by the city administration in 2015, as well as Cilandak Town Square (Citos) in South Jakarta, which was sued alongside Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan by Fakta last year over negligence of the enforcement of smoking regulations. Fakta also sued ITC Cempaka Mas in Central Jakarta in 2011.

“For Citos, we agreed to settle the case by mediation and now the survey has indicated that they have made differences as seen in more no-smoking signs and security guards keeping an eye on different areas. But for ITC Cempaka Mas, we still found some violations there,” Tigor said.

Tigor suggested that the city administration oblige each location categorized as a smoking-free area to provide a special smoking space outside the building to avoid both visitors and tenants finding reasons to smoke inside.

“We are not blaming anyone who smokes. We just hope that smokers have a sense of responsibility not to disturb others around them with the smoke they produce,” Tigor said.

“As the city is facing the widespread issue of air pollution, the government needs to pay attention also to indoor pollution. In the end, the goal is the same, which is to create a metropolitan, not ‘metropollutant’ city,” he joked.

Normansyah said that in addition to malls, Fakta also conducted a survey of violations in non-smoking areas in 13 traditional markets in Jakarta that were under the management of city-owned market operator PD Pasar Jaya, which revealed that 92 percent of people, both visitors and sellers, smoke in non-smoking areas.

In response, PD Pasar Jaya legal officer Putu Krisna said that he was not surprised by such large numbers since most people going to traditional markets, in his opinion, had a different mentality to mall visitors, and that non-smoking signs and reprimands would not work with them.

“For the sellers, we can still uphold the smoking rules through an agreement made by the management, but for visitors, it’s difficult,” said Putu, adding that he also recommended the city administration to provide special rooms for smoking outside market buildings. (syk)

The Jakarta Post