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Fellow Jakarta bloggers Jakartass and Avi have both written excellent posts on Jakarta’s ridiculous new regulations on smoking.

Now don’t get me wrong. I fully agree that non-smokers should not be passive smokers against their wishes.

But while it is entirely reasonable to ban smoking in public buses and in other enclosed places, just what the hell does the Jakarta administration think it’s up to by banning people from smoking outside?

Because in addition to all city administration offices, “main thoroughfares and the buildings along them will be the first places in the "Big Smoke" to be declared smoke - and butt – free”.

Some 1,000 officers from a city task force have even been mobilized to catch smokers on the streets and issue stern warning!!

This is utter madness of course. Why the hell shouldn’t people be allowed to light up in the open? Even the control-crazed Singaporeans don’t go this far.

But this hysteria over smoking is escalating across the globe, and not just in Indonesia.

Did you know for example, that in Canada, companies are now following the American trend of refusing to hire smokers, even if they smoke in their off hours!

A group of Canadian online companies, headed by Momentus.ca, have made it clear on their websites that they only hire non-smokers. It's a policy aimed at lowering health-related costs for employers.

And in America, workers at Weyco Medical Benefits in Michigan have been made to sign contracts stating that they won’t smoke at work or at home!

"We want a healthy workforce," says Howard Weyer, the company's president.

But why discriminate against smokers? What about employees who engage in high-risk activities such as extreme sports? Should the company also discriminate against them because they are more likely to have a serious accident than other employees?

All very confusing.

Perhaps what we need is some divine inspiration…





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