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Yes, Bali Does Mind if You Smoke

Bali Provincial Government Asks Major Tobacco Conference to Take Inter-Tabac Down Wind

(2/2/2014) In a bold step, the provincial government of Bali is aksing organizers of a major trade fair for the global tobacco industry scheduled for Bali February 27-28, 2013, to please  moved to another location outside of Bali.

Referring to the Inter-tabac Asia trade show, NusaBali quotes the deputy-governor of Bali, Ketut Sudikerta, as telling the press on Tuesday, January 28, 2014: “We have recommended to the organizers that the exhibition not be held in Bali. Hold it in East Java or Central Java because those are tobacco producing areas.”

While some media are reporting that the conference for tobacco products and smoking accessories has been booted out of Bali, these reports are denied on the Inter-tabac website who posted an announcment  on January 30, 2014, stating: “Contrary to misleading information published across some media channels, the Inter-tabac Asia and ProTobEx Asia trade fairs will be taking place as planned.”

The same website also encourages exhibitors and buyers to travel to Bali, provocatively proclaiming to be above the law by announcing: “Of course, smoking is still permitted at Inter-tabac ASIA.”

The website also has a banner showing a burning cigarette with the message “It is permitted to smoke at Inter-tabac Asia.”

That statement is not correct.

The smoke free law for the province of Bali that came into effect on January 1, 2014, strictly limits smoking and the promotion of smoking in public places, threatening modest fines or 3-month jail terms for smokers and business establishments that that permit smoking in enclosed areas.

While ashtrays and other smoking accessories will be on display at the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center during Inter-tabac ASIA, Provincial Law No. 10 of 2011 specifically prohibits under, penalty of law, for hotels, restaurants and other public establishments to even provide ashtrays in public spaces in which smoking is not allowed.

Sudikerta told the press that while the provincial government cannot refuse the exhibition, but said such an event was difficult to tolerate in light of Bali’s new non-smoking rules.

The deputy-governor said the provincial government had already written to the organizers of Inter-tabac Asia, but have yet to receive a response from the conference organizer.

Meanwhile, Titi Suhariyati who heads a major anti-smoking advocacy team, has warned Bali that it will be a laughing stock if it turns a blind eye and allow delegates to promote tobacco products and smoke at an exhibition on an island that has passed a comprehensive anti-smoking law banning both those activities.

Suhariyati told NusaBali that anti-smoking lobbies from across Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Timor Leste and Vietnam have called on the government of Indonesia and the government of Bali to prohibit the Inter-tabac Asia event from taking place on the Island.

Joining the chorus of those  unhappy to see the conference come to Bali is Dr. Putu Ayu Swandewi Astuti and Made Kerta Duana from Udayana University’s Public Health Faculty who cite World Health Organization (WHO) data that claims 6 million people die each year due to smoking, with the highest rates of death coming from low-income countries.

Dr. Astuti said: “In Indonesia 200,000 people die each year from tobacco use. Inter-tabac Asia is targeting the Indonesian public as consumers."

That the conference wants Indonesian to consume more tobacco-related products  is reflected on the conference’s official website that touts ‘Indonesia is on a growth course”

Based on past events. Inter-tabac Asia targets 700 tobacco trade visitors who will interact with 60 exhibitors from some 24 countries selling cigarillos, cigars, and cigarettes, cigarette paper, tobacco, including pipe tobacco and smoking accessories.

Reports in the international media saying Bali has banned the February conference appear premature, but, noetheless, the Inter-tabac conference looks to be on a collision course with Bali’s new anti smoking rules.

Related Article

No Smoking in Public: That’s The Law in Bali