Bali’s legislative council enacted a smoke-free zone bylaw on Monday, clearing the way to ban smoking across broad swaths of the island.
The bylaw states that hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, places of worship, healthcare facilities and schools, among other places, are to be smoke-free areas.
Smoking and advertising for tobacco products were also banned in playgrounds, traditional and modern markets, transportation terminals, airports, government offices and on public transportation.
Violations of the bylaw can be punished by up to six months’ imprisonment and a Rp 50 million (US$5,500) fine.
The legislative council must forward the bylaw to the Home Ministry for evaluation before it can be put into force.
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said the bylaw was passed to implement the 2009 Health Law.
Intensive publication was needed to ensure the regulation would be obeyed and understood, considering the low local awareness of the health dangers of smoking, Pastika said.
“I think tourists will understand if we apply the bylaw. It’s the local people who sometimes can’t understand.”
Utami Dwi Suryadi, a council member involved in drafting the bylaw, said the council had disseminated information to the public before adopting the bylaw.
“Most of them agreed that we should put this bylaw into practice for health reasons. This bylaw is crucial and absolutely needed to preserve public health,” she said.
Nyoman Sutedja, head of Bali’s provincial health agency, agreed. Smoking posed a dangerous threat to health and could lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancer and pregnancy disorders, Sutedja said.
The prevalence of smoking in Bali is high. According to a 2010 report, 31 percent of the province’s population aged 10 and above were smokers, up from 24.9 percent in 2007.
A provincial health agency survey on the bylaw conducted earlier this year said 93.1 percent of those surveyed backed the bylaw, including 90.7 percent of all smokers.
The survey also indicated that 92.7 percent of respondents agreed that people should not be allowed to smoke in places of worship.
Before implementing the bylaw, the agency would assess hotels and would later evaluate them based on their compliance with the bylaw, Sutedja said.
“Hotels will be certified based on their level of compliance with the bylaw, be it good, fair or poor,” he said, adding that the certification would benefit the hotels as tourists usually preferred to stay in healthier environments when on vacation