No Smoking!

It has been a year since our company imposed a ban of smoking in all areas of the company. For many years before the ban, the company provided some restricted points where smokers had a chance to smoke cigarettes. But since August 17, 2008 no more smokers might have a dream of taking pleasure of smoking. Not only does the ban prohibit smoking in all areas of the mill, but also forbid any one, without any exception, from taking cigarettes or matches into the areas. This good campaign of healthy life has got much appreciation from all parties.

As the biggest paper manufacturer in the South East Asia, the company has to apply to all the necessities that improve the image of the company to both domestic and international markets. Now, this giant paper mill, PT. Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk., is exporting its products to countries all over the world. Taking the role of campaigning smoking ban would certainly be a great support to the WHO-sponsored program: the day without tobacco.

Smoking in the mill areas, more than just the harmful effects to the employees, was to be considered as a dangerous activity. The most apparent danger is the fire risk as most of the raw materials are pulp paper and chemicals, which are inflammable and prone to fire. Another aim of this no-smoking campaign is the real participation of keeping the young people free from the danger of smoking.

The fact that many people have been involved in the bad habit of smoking has drawn the attention of some provincial offices. The Jakarta cosmopolitan office, the main city, has issued a ban of smoking in the public areas. This policy should be a pattern for other provinces to keep people from bad smoking. Considering that nowadays a big number of teenagers have also been toppled into this harmful-to-heath smoking, this policy would be of a great help.

The problem why the government does not straightly impose the ban of producing cigarettes or even close the manufacturers of tobacco and cigarettes is that the fact that this industry has been supporting the revenue with the high tax. It seems that government would be facing the huge loss of income from this double-effect industry.

What the government can do is just to campaign for the harmful effect of smoking without having any enforcement. It would take a high risk to the economic situation to close the industry. Campaigning to avoid life from smoking directly to the public or other means of warnings like enforcement to print a warning about the danger of smoking to health on the packaging. But this does not give any positive impact as no smoker even see it.

In the market, and for the sake of commercial trickery, it has been now a tendency to promote the cigarette branding that misleads smokers into believing that some products are less harmful than other products. Subtle branding like ‘mild’, ‘light’, and ‘law tar’ are generally believed to be healthier and less harmful. The word ‘slim’ can mislead women smokers to the wrong perception that smoking this product will make their body slim. Attractive macho pictures on the packets also mislead teenagers to have belief that to be a man they should have courage of smoking.

Since 2002 it has been illegal under EU legislation for manufacturers to use trademarks, text or any sign to suggest that one tobacco product is less harmful than others are. Banned phrases include "low tar", "light" and "mild". In the UK, the Liberal Democrats are currently trying to reintroduce an amendment to the Health Bill to further restrict branding and designs on packs.

With the above reference, it is the time for the government to think over the legislation to ban the subtle branding that can mislead people to thinking of certain brands are less harmful with the others. The truth is that all cigarettes are equally hazardous, regardless of what color the pack is or what words appear on it. There should be a restriction of producing cigarette packing with such attractive pictures deliberately to tempt people to smoking.

The tobacco and cigarette industry is likely a blade with two sharp sides. On one side, it is generally judged as the agent of the bad habit of living, but on the other hand, the government still has to make money with it. With this condition, we cannot expect more but think over our health.

Have a good life!

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