Members of the Bali division of the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), Indonesia’s main Hindu organisation, said on Tuesday that they would support moves to ban smoking in all Hindu temples.
Bali chairman of PHDI, I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, said that as temples were the hub of Balinese Hindu society, they should be kept smoke-free. He said that entire temple complexes, rather than just the inner sanctums, should remain free from cigarette smoke.
“Essentially, anywhere in the temple area should be free of cigarettes, not just the middle or inner temple,” he said.
Sudiana was speaking during a meeting with government officials in Denpasar on Tuesday to discuss developing an island-wide series of anti-smoking policies, entitled Commitment to Development and Application of No Smoking Zone Policy. He said that avoiding smoking in temple grounds would help to heighten spirituality, as the temples were supposed to be sacred places.
He said smoking had already been totally banned during temple ceremonies in Sanur Kauh and Tembau villages in the Denpasar municipality.
Meanwhile, Dr Rohani Budi of the Data Processing and Information Centre told the meeting that treating smoking related health issues in Indonesia was costing an average of Rp186 trillion (US$21.3 billion) each year.
“This amount is triple the cigarette tax revenue obtained by the government each year, which amounts to Rp62 trillion (US$7.3 billion),” he said.
“Based on data from a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, each year 265 billion cigarettes are produced by official factories in Indonesia,” Budi said, adding that total revenues from tobacco were thought to be in the region of Rp250 trillion (US$29.3 billion), though most of that money stays with the producers.