The Bali Provincial Health Service is planning to establish misdemeanor criminal proceedings in order to rapidly process those found violating the 2009 anti-smoking law now officially in effect.
The model for the misdemeanor criminal courts was inspired by Bogor in West Java where such proceedings have proven effective in enforcing anti-smoking rules and raising public awareness to the fact that smoking in public places is both socially unacceptable and against the law.
The State News Agency Antara, quotes Made Suhardana, who led a delegation of Bali health officials on a visit to Bogor, who said, “the Bogor model of establishing special courts to deal with smoking violations worked well in Bogor, so we plan to do the same in Bali.”
He said the effectiveness of the proposed special court proceedings is more to be measured by the change in public behavior than in the actual number of convictions achieved.
A local official in Bogor, Edgar Suratman, told the visiting Bali officials that the anti-smoking law in place in Bogor has been very effective in discouraging smoking in public places, work places, places of worship, recreational areas, places where children gather, public transport, places of education, health centers and sports centers.
Edgar said that those found smoking in these areas are punished for those breaking the law.
To eliminate smoking in public place the local government in Bogor has also reduced the amount of public advertising for tobacco products in their community. Although this step reduced taxation collected from such signage by more than half, local officials feel any loss in tax revenues is more than offset by improvement in public health.
While in Bogor the Bali officials were allowed to view first-hand the proceeding of the special courts set up to process those caught smoking in violation of the law.
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