Communities Initiate the First Smoke-Free Neighbourhood in Jakarta, Indonesia
The neighborhood initiated an anti-tobacco movement by declaring itself a smoke-free kampung, the first of its kind in Jakarta.
Indonesia has one of the highest rates of smoking and is the world's fourth-biggest cigarette producer, mostly of the pungent "kretek" clove and tobacco variety. A few groups are now pushing back against Big Tobacco in the country of 250 million people where nearly two-thirds of men smoke and a cigarette pack can cost less than $2.
A row of at least a dozen houses at the Penas Tanggul neighborhood were painted with bright colors in March, with a blue banner hung near the entrance declaring it a smoke-free zone.
Residents have been encouraged to stop or to avoid smoking "so this neighborhood will not just be beautiful, but also healthy", said Nobby Sail Andi Supu, a 22-year-old student who coordinated the program with a civic group.
Following the declaration, smokers who live in the neighborhood are encouraged not only by their families, but also by their neighbors to reduce their cigarette consumption, if not actually to quit smoking altogether.
Since the establishment of the smoke-free kampung, four people out of 70 active smokers in the neighborhood, had quit smoking, while the rest had reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked.
At Penas Tanggul, 18-year-old high school student Kholid Wahyudi said he felt the pressure to cut back on smoking after his neighborhood went smoke-free.
"I feel embarrassed here, especially when I'm with my friends who don't smoke," Wahyudi told Reuters. "I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, but now I can reduce it to two to three sticks."
Kampung Penas Tanggul coordinator Nobby Sail Andi Supu said he expected the kampung to be a role model for other neighborhoods in Jakarta.
"At first, we only wanted to paint the houses here to eliminate the slum image as many of our houses were built along riverbanks. But then, we wanted a healthy kampung too," he told The Jakarta Post.
National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komas PT) Head Priyo Sidipratomo praised the efforts of the kampung and hoped it could be a good example for others.