Those of you that enjoy a nicotine fix need to be a little wary about where you are going to get that next fix during the period from 17 through 27 November 2008. The Government of Jakarta and several Anti-Smoking NGOs have decided that they are going to up the ante on smokers and conduct raids during this period (cartoon).
There is a Regulation, actually a couple of them (No. 2 of 2005 and No. 75 of 2005), that has been issued by the Government of Jakarta that prohibits smoking in certain places and requires businesses and others to provide special smoking rooms to cater for those who cannot go without a nicotine fix.
The places that are most likely to be targeted are office buildings, medical facilities, malls and shopping centers, places of worship, schools, and public transportation, among others. This seems to be an initiative that is being driven more by those concerned with the growing abuse of tobacco rather than any increased interest from the government in terms of implementing the 2005 Regulation.
The cold hard reality is that the government after the initial posting of signs declaring certain areas non-smoking, the government lost interest in enforcement. I remember when the Regulation first came into effect. I was taking a train from Gambir Station to Bandung. As I was waiting for the train to arrive, I remember having a good laugh to myself as I watched a young fella light up and puff away. Why the good laugh? He was standing under one of those no smoking signs, the red circle with a cigarette inside the circle and a red line through it. It was one of those moments, where you go, "nah, this is definitely not going to work."
Even now, each day in the building where I work I watch smokers line the corridors puffing away. There are no designated smoking areas, there are no non-smoking area signs or if there are they are routinely ignored. There is no enforcement from building management or the security personnel roaming the corridors. If I am not mistaken building management can be fined for any failure to enforce the provisions in their buildings.
Let the fun and games begin.