The Enforcement of Smoking Ban in Public Places


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Recently, I’ve done a roughly 2,000 words research paper to fulfill my final exam on the subject Academic English. I picked a topic about the enforcement of smoking ban in Indonesia. The objective of this essay is not to ban smoking completely, but to ban the smoking practice in certain areas which are public places.

Why I choose this topic? Because, I find it disturbing to inhale the tobacco smoke emitted by the smokers in a lot of public places. I can barely enjoy my food in a foodcourt, I have to hold by breath while walking in a certain area, etc. Smoking in Indonesia is a sort of trend. Since this practice is harmful to other people, I think government should make an act to ban smoking (this time, truly ban the smoking in public places!).

The argument behind the smoking ban in public is because smoke has been proven to not only damage the active smokers, but also the passive smokers (public health). Tobacco smoke is also found to be disturbing to some people (public welfare), and is a major cause of fire (public safety). Smoking also impacts the environment in form of air and water polluting, and needs to be ban to suppress the spreading of the unhealthy habit through social interaction. Smoking ban is also needed to ensure the safety of our young generation. Most of them are not mature enough to think rationally yet, thus they have to be protected by the government until they are mature enough to decide to smoke or not.

If you’re not a smoking ban supporter, also feel free to give comments why the smoking ban should not be implemented.

Hope this essay will help any of you in many ways. Happy reading.


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The Enforcement of Smoking Ban in Public Places

  1. 1. Argumentative Essay The Enforcement of Smoking Ban in Public Places written by: Fiona Angelina Wijaya February 5, 2010 © 2010. Fiona Angelina Wijaya. This work by Fiona Angelina Wijaya is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. Please do not misuse this paper by any means. You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit) this paper under the following conditions:  Attribution — You must attribute this paper work to the name Fiona Angelina Wijaya, and make a link to the following:  Noncommercial — You may not use this paper for commercial purposes.  No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this paper.
  2. 2. Tobacco smoking has become part of most Indonesian people’s lives. A lot of Indonesian people can be seen smoking in various public places such as bars, restaurants, streets, parks, and bus stations. Regardless of awareness that smoking damages their health, they could not easily give up on smoking due to several reasons including physical and mental addiction, stress, and peer pressure. This practice raises a concern for public health, safety, and welfare since scientific studies have proven that nonsmokers who involuntarily exposed to tobacco smoke also experience the same health problems as the active smokers (World Health Organization, 2005). Besides public health, safety, and welfare concerns, smoking in public also impacts the environment as well as social life. Thus, the objection of this essay is to argue that the government of Indonesia should impose stricter rules on smoking in public. This essay is not arguing to ban smoking completely, but only to restrict the practice in public places both indoor and outdoor. The term smoking which is used in this essay refers to an act of burning tobacco using smoking devices and inhaling the produced smoke. The smokeless tobacco is not included in the term. Smoking device is a tool which is used to smoke tobacco. There are a lot of smoking devices, such as cigar, cigarette, pipe, hookah, and bong; but the one that is taken into consideration is the cigarette since it is the most widely used smoking device by Indonesian people in public places. There are two most common types of cigarettes which are consumed, clove cigarettes (or simply kreteks) and white cigarettes. Kreteks use a mixture of dried tobacco and cloves while white cigarettes do not include cloves in its mixture. The term active smokers refers to people who inhale the tobacco smoke directly from the smoking device and passive smokers refers to people who are being exposed to tobacco smoke indirectly because of the emission of tobacco smoke to the air. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) survey, Indonesia is included in top five countries concerning cigarette consumption in the world along with China, USA, Japan, and Russia (McKay & Eriksen, 2002, pp. 30-31). As of 2008, the prevalence of smoking in Indonesia reaches as high as 65.3% and 4.2% among males and females respectively (World Health Organization, 2009). The continuous growing number of smokers in Indonesia triggers some people who concern about the negative impact of smoking to force the government to implement a law to ban smoking in public, but the law has never been truly imposed because of many barriers. One of many barriers is the fact that tobacco industry contributes 98% to the country’s excise revenue (Bisara & Wibisono, 2009). The inconsistency of Indonesian government is shown in the implementation of smoking ban in Jakarta. The smoking ban has been imposed since 4 February 2006, but has never been conducted properly until today (Yunita, 2005). People keep smoking wherever they like although few places have obeyed the rule by making a separate enclosed smoking room. The issue of smoking in public has to be taken seriously as it threatens the public health. In Indonesia itself, ±200,000 people die by cause of smoking-related diseases every year. Smoking is responsible for a quarter of deaths in 2005 and 80% of lung and respiratory cancer cases (NACS Online, 2009). It is not unknown to public that smoking can cause various health problems, even resulting in premature death or disability. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are the major diseases caused by smoking. Smoking also increases the risk of erectile dysfunction, infertility, miscarriage, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, cataracts, and stroke. Passive smokers have the same risk suffering these health problems as the active ones (Brandt, 2005). A cigarette is not only made of dried tobacco leaves, but also other additional substances to enhance the flavor. Most of all these additional substances are unsafe to be consumed after being combusted. According to WHO, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and 60 of them are known or suspected carcinogenic substances (McKay & Eriksen, 2002, pp. 32-33). Some of carcinogens that can be
  3. 3. found in tobacco smoke are formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide (Surgeon General, 2007). Exposure to these carcinogens by any means increases the likelihood of getting cancer. In the smokers’ body, the respiratory system has the highest probability of suffering cancer compare to other systems. This is due to the fact that when smokers inhale the tobacco smoke, it travels through the smokers’ respiratory system; thus exposing all respiratory organs to carcinogens. The presence of nicotine in cigarette causes physical addiction on smokers. Consequently, most people find difficulties to quit smoking completely. Symptoms such as headache, dizziness, mood swings, cough, dry throat, and weight gain are common on early weeks of nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine leads to chain smoking, causing repetitive exposure to hazardous content of cigarette. Nicotine acts as both stimulant and relaxant to human body depend on its dosages (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 2009). In low doses, nicotine increases blood pressure and heart rate giving alertness to the body, meanwhile, in higher doses, nicotine depresses the nervous system resulting in calm and relaxing feelings. The burning of tobacco emits a gas called carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous, tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas which is produced from incomplete combustion. After being inhaled, carbon monoxide is absorbed into the bloodstream. It then bonds with hemoglobin in red blood cells forming a stable complex called carboxyhemoglobin. This bond is preferred to oxyhemoglobin which is the bond between oxygen and hemoglobin (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 2000). Hemoglobin’s actual role in human circulatory system is to transport oxygen throughout bodily tissues. The oxygen provides the necessary energy for human body to survive. The presence of carboxyhemoglobin obstructs hemoglobin’s function to bind oxygen. Hence, high consumption of carbon monoxide leads to oxygen deprivation and death eventually. This condition is commonly known as carbon monoxide poisoning. Tobacco smoke is an air pollutant and contains various dangerous chemical substances which intoxicate surrounding air of smokers. Inhaling the smoke increases the risk of suffering various diseases that are not only suffered by the active smokers, but also the passive smokers. Exposure of tobacco smoke to pregnant woman impacts both mother and the unborn child, which subsequently lead to higher incidence of miscarriage, sudden infant death, low birth weight, and a reduction in head circumference at birth. People with certain health condition such as asthma are susceptible to tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke can trigger asthma attacks and worsen the condition. By the enforcement of smoking ban, it is hoped that the air quality in public places will improve and therefore reduce the negative effect of tobacco smoking to passive smokers especially those with certain health condition. The role of cigarette butts as pollutants to environment is often underestimated. Many smokers discard cigarette butts in inappropriate places. Most of them do not care about the latter’s impact on cigarette butt littering as a result of misleading information that cigarette butts are made of easily biodegradable materials. The truth is cigarette butts are not made of easily biodegradable materials. They are made of cellulose acetate which takes 18 months up to 10 years to fully degrade in the environment (Cigarette Litter --Biodegradable?). Cigarette butts are able to intoxicate the soil where they are discarded due to their hazardous content. They are highly poisonous because of their function as filters. Furthermore, cigarette butts are also known as water pollution. During wet season, litters including cigarette butts are washed by rain and most of them end up in the water body. The water poisoning could bring death to creatures living in it. According to San Diego State University researchers, cigarettes are proven to be deadly for fish (San Diego News Network, 2009). Smoldering cigarette was responsible for up to 761 fire cases in Jakarta during 2004-2009 (Saputra, 2009). Many smokers forget to make sure their cigarettes have stopped burning before discarding or
  4. 4. abandoning them. The careless behavior can lead to fire if the smoldering cigarette light nearby flammable materials. The smoking ban is expected to reduce the incidence of fire ignited by smoldering cigarettes. Humans are born to be social creatures and consequently have to interact with each other to satisfy their needs. During the interaction process, the involved parties give reciprocal influences including lifestyle. The smoking lifestyle is happened to be distributed through these ways. Most teen smokers start smoking for the sake of friendship. These teenagers hardly reject the smoking offer from their peers due to the fear of isolation. After they reach adulthood and aware that smoking damages their health, they find it hard to stop as a result of both physical and mental addiction. Smoking in public places also acts as a bad example for children and adolescents. Children and adolescents are usually immature that they have not been able to think rationally yet. Once they see an adult smoking, they perceive an image that one has to smoke to be mature. It is government’s duty to protect these youngsters from negative things such as smoking. Therefore, the smoking ban is compulsory in order to decrease the probability of children and adolescents become smokers at such young age. The enforcement of smoking ban in Indonesia is found to be difficult owing to the fact that tobacco industries are major contributors to the country’s income. During 2005-2008, the tobacco industries have grown significantly compare to previous years with growing rate of 17.53% (Wibowo, 2003). It can be deduced that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government offers a conducive environment for tobacco industries to grow, ensuring their sustainability. The smoking ban enforcement is feared to damage the tobacco industries, resulting in the increasing number of unemployment and reducing the country’s income. The argument that the establishment of smoking ban will result in the increasing number of unemployment is unfounded on the ground that the employment in tobacco industries is low compare to other industries, contributing less than 1% of total employment (Barber, Adioetomo, Ahsan, & Setyonaluri). While the fact that tobacco industries increase Indonesia’s income cannot be denied, the large sum of losses caused by smoking habit are being suffered as well. The losses can be both directly and indirectly. The direct one is cost to facilitate health care for smoking-related diseases and the indirect ones are the losses of productivity, losses of quality human resources, budget allocated for solving poverty issues such as BLT (Bantuan Langsung Tunai), and other costs used to solve other smoking indirect impacts to the society. Poverty issues can be considered as one of smoking indirect impacts. A research shows that 11.5% of smokers’ household expenses are used to buy cigarettes compared to 11.0% for foods, 3.2% for education, and 2.5% for health (Barber, Adioetomo, Ahsan, & Setyonaluri). It can be concluded that smoking is one of many causes that worsens the economic level of smokers especially those who come from low income family, resulting in the increasing rate of poverty in Indonesia. Those who against the smoking ban in Indonesia argue that smoking ban should not be imposed regarding the fact that the country upholds human rights values including freedom to choose whether one wants to smoke or not. The recognition of human rights values in Indonesia is reflected on the Constitution of Indonesia (Indonesian language: Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 or UUD ’45). Laws concerning human rights are comprised in chapter XA. Based on this ground, those who against the smoking ban concluded that the government has no authority to interfere with ones’ freedom to smoke. It is true that smoking is a matter of freedom, but other people who do not smoke also have an option to live in a healthy environment. The freedom of smoking would never be a problem if it only affects the
  5. 5. smokers themselves. The practice of smoking harms both the active smokers and the passive ones, raising an objection from the aggrieved side. Thus, a smoking ban is needed to ensure that there is no clash between each party. The primary purpose of smoking ban in public is not to restrict the smokers’ right to smoke, but to protect the nonsmokers who negatively affected by the practice. The smokers may smoke in their own houses and the nonsmokers would not need to worry about the involuntarily exposure to smoke when going out of their houses. Judging from the impacts of smoking to both the society and the environment, the government of Indonesia should impose stricter rules concerning smoking in public places. The practice of smoking in public threatens the public health, safety, and welfare. Scientific studies have proven explicitly that the practice of smoking damages both the active smokers’ and passive smokers’ health by increasing the risks of suffering cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and COPD. The smoke itself is found to be disturbing to some people and endangers people with certain health condition such as asthma. Furthermore, smoking also contributes to environmental pollution and is responsible for hundreds of fire cases in Jakarta during 2004-2009. The implementation of smoking ban in public places meets objections from both the tobacco industries and the smokers. Tobacco industries argue that the implementation of smoking ban will result in their downfall, increasing the unemployment numbers and reducing Indonesia’s income. The issue of unemployment numbers seems to be unfounded since tobacco industries only contribute to less than 1% of total employment. The losses caused by smoking are also greater compare to the income. The smokers argue that every person has their own freedom of choice so government could not interfere with their own choice to smoke. In the real world, a true freedom could never be gained. Every person has their interests and often clashes one with another. Rules are needed to ensure that there is no conflict in the society. So does smoking ban is needed to ensure that there will be no clash between smokers’ and nonsmokers’ interests. In conclusion, smoking ban in public places is needed to be implemented in Indonesia and has to be imposed strictly to ensure the nonsmokers’ right to live healthy, and to protect the children and adolescents from harmful practice such as smoking until they are mature enough to make a decision on their own.
  6. 6. Reference List American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. (2009). Nicotine TD: AHFS Detailed Monograph. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from Medscape: Medical News, Full-text Journal Articles & More: onotype=monograph&secid=8 Barber, S., Adioetomo, S. M., Ahsan, A., & Setyonaluri, D. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2010, from Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids: International Resource Center: Bisara, D., & Wibisono, A. (2009, November 5). More Bad News For Cigarette Makers as Indonesia Considers Raising Excise Tax - The Jakarta Globe. Retrieved January 14, 2010, from The Jakarta Globe: raising-excise-tax/339871 Brandt, C. J. (2005, February 14). Smoking - health risks. Retrieved January 20, 2010, from - The UK's leading independent health website: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety. (2000, November 28). OSH Answers: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS): General Information and Health Effects. Retrieved January 20, 2010, from CCOHS: Canada's National Centre for Occupational Health and Safety information: Cigarette Litter --Biodegradable? (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2010, from CVW History of Intl Coastal Cleanup in VA: McKay, J., & Eriksen, M. (2002). The Tobacco Atlas. Brighton, United Kingdom: Myriad Editions. NACS Online. (2009, January 30). Smoking Fatwa Issued in Indonesia. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from NACS - The Association for Convenience & Petroleum Retailing: San Diego News Network. (2009, November 9). Researches want cigs labeled as toxic waste. Retrieved January 26, 2009, from San Diego News Online - San Diego County - Travel - Hotels - Sports: Saputra, A. (2009, December 21). detikNews : Puntung Rokok Penyebab 761 Kebakaran di Jakarta. Retrieved January 26, 2010, from detikNews : situs warta era digital: detikNews : Puntung Rokok Penyebab 761 Kebakaran di Jakarta Surgeon General. (2007, January 4). The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved January 19, 2010, from Office of the Surgeon General (OSG): Wibowo, T. (2003, June). Retrieved February 4, 2010, from Badan Kebijakan Fiskal-Depkeu: World Health Organization. (2005). Retrieved January 15, 2010, from World Health Organization:
  7. 7. World Health Organization. (2009). Retrieved January 14, 2010, from World Health Organization: Yunita, N. W. (2005, December 27). detikNews : Perda Larangan Merokok Berlaku 4 Februari, Bukan 1 Januari. Retrieved February 5, 2010, from detikNews : situs warta era digital: 07016/idkanal/10