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Governor of Jakarta’s New Notification Will Significantly Improve Smokefree, TAPS, and Point of Sale Bans

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After nearly a decade, the commitment and perseverance of tobacco control advocates including The Union will dramatically alter Jakarta’s implementation of smokefree, TAPS bans, and tobacco product bans at point-of-sale locations. On 9 June, the Governor of Jakarta issued a Governor’s Notification (No. 8 Year 2021), instructing all building managers to 1) display “No Smoking” signage at all building entrances 2) remove all ashtrays and 3) remove all indoor and outdoor advertising, including banned tobacco products display at the point-of-sale (POS). This notification will cover nearly eleven million people in Jakarta Province of Central Jakarta, West Jakarta, South Jakarta, East Jakarta, North Jakarta, and the Thousand Islands regency.

Nearly 23% of the Jakarta population are daily smokers, smoking an average of 12 sticks a day. That number jumps to nearly 54% for men when the data are disaggregated by sex. Youth smoking is also highly problematic, with an 8.4% smoking prevalence among people ages 10-18.

“Efforts to protect the public from the dangers of smoking will be successful if all components of society, especially all building managers in the DKI Jakarta Province, actively participate in monitoring and enforcing the laws and regulations,” said Governor Anies Baswedan, noting that the Notification will also help reduce the spread of COVID-19, which is presently ravaging Indonesia.

The Union has worked to strengthen tobacco control in Jakarta since 2010. That year, a Governor’s regulation called for the immediate implementation of smokefree in all public places, workplaces, and public transport. The city eventually adopted Jakarta Governor Regulation No. 50 of 2012 to ensure effective smokefree implementation, monitoring and enforcement.

Five years later, in 2015, Jakarta banned all outdoor advertising, removing a total of 27,470 tobacco billboards. Since implementing the ban, the local government received higher advertising revenues (31.6 trillion rupiah in 2016 to 37.6 trillion rupiah in 2018) as tobacco ads were replaced by more lucrative product advertising. Today, Jakarta is 100% outdoor tobacco billboards free and is the Indonesian province with the highest percentage of subnational tobacco tax (75%), specifically allocated for implementation of Smokefree and tobacco control programs.

The recent governor’s notification sets a strong precedent for other jurisdictions. According to the WHO, banning point-of-sale tobacco displays reduces impulse purchases, creating a supportive environment that encourages smokers to quit.

“The notification will be enforced with immediate effect,” said Mr. Zainal, Head of Jakarta Social Welfare Bureau. “All provincial government departments, the national government, civil society organizations and international partners are all key to success.”

Jakarta is now the 14th Indonesian city to implement a ban on tobacco product displays at the point-of-sale. Bogor city was the first to adopt a POS ban, fighting fierce resistance from the Indonesian Light Cigarette Producers Association (Gaprindo) and the Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo). Both filed a formal objection with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Human Rights. Separately, three tobacco retailers challenged the policy all the way to the Supreme Court; the Court’s rule in favour of Bogor emboldened leaders to implement stronger tobacco control policies without fear of industry reprisal. 

“The Union welcomes the governor’s notification,” said Tara Singh Bam, Director, The Union Asia Pacific. “It shows great commitment to protect people’s health. Point-of-sale displays of tobacco products in retail stores allow the tobacco industry to continue advertising by using packs to attract attention. Because young people are particularly vulnerable to marketing, display bans are critical to reduce youth smoking initiation. Together we hope the next step can be turning this notification into a strong subnational policy.”