Fri, 22 Aug 2003

RI to ratify tobacco convention

JAKARTA: The government is set to endorse the UN Framework on Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) to strengthen efforts to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

Minister of Health Achmad Sujudi said, after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, that with the endorsement, the government should further discuss new regulations to limit smoking habits.

"Of course, we'll not try to stop smoking altogether, but we'll put tougher restrictions on cigarette advertising, establish regulations to separate smokers from nonsmokers and impose higher taxes on cigarette companies," Achmad said.

The minister emphasized that tougher regulations might be applied within the next five years, in line with recent government regulation No.19/2003 on tobacco.

He also said the government was fully aware of the negative economic impact of slapping higher taxes on cigarette producers but as a member of the UN Indonesia should comply with the regulation.

"We also want to safeguard public health because we are fully aware of the dangers of smoking to one's health," the minister said. --JP