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Pros and Cons On Cigarette Ban

Friday, 15 August, 2008 | 18:39 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) fatwa (edict) on
cigarettes has generated various public opinion. The South Sumatra Children Protection
Commission supported the plan to ban cigarette for under-aged children. Not only is it bad
for the health, but also for the children who have no income, said commission member, Siti
Romlah, yesterday.

The MUIs plan to ban cigarettes emerged after hearing the views of many groups, including
the Indonesian Commission for the Protection of Children. According to the MUI Fatwa
Committee chairman, Amidan, discussion on the fatwa will be held after the month of

Based on the Commission for the Protection of Children, at least 60 percent of children
under age are familiar with cigarettes. This is very worrying, said Romlah. The foundation,
she said, will collaborate with the MUI in the regions to urge the central council to apply the
cigarette ban for under-aged children.

The Indonesian White Cigarette Producers Association chairman, Muhaimin Moeftie, agrees
with efforts to control cigarette-smoking among children. But the control must be
comprehensive, not ad hoc. This includes regulations for advertising and sales, whose target
are children, he said. We agree 100 percent on limiting cigarettes for children, he said.

However, not everyone agrees with the ban. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) religious leader in
Jember, East Java, believes that the cigarette ban will cause more problems than benefits.
Besides, khilafiah (different opinions in Islamic laws) on issues such as cigarettes, do not
need to be regulated or banned, said Rois Aam, KH Najmudin in Jember.

The NU Jember figure who is also a smoker said that cigarette should be seen like ordinary
issues as tarawih prayers or bank interests. So far, the NU kyais have not found a qath'i
(definite) rule concerning cigarettes in the Quran, or in the Prophets Hadiths, while the
anti-smokers are using the aqli rule (based on common sense). The word cigarette does
not even exist in the Arabic language, he stressed.

NU Jember Counselor, KH Hamid Hasbullah, called on the MUI not to treat this lightly and
study the issue from many aspects. The fatwa can affect tobacco farmers and cigarette
factory workers, he said. According to him, smoking can be seen as wasting money and
damaging health, however it can not be immediately judged as haram according to Islamic
law. If it is haram, cigarette factories will close, and thousands of workers will be
unemployed. This can trigger unemployment and crime, he said.

Lirboyo Pesantren principal, KH Idris Marzuqi, had a similar view, relying on the Irsyadul
Ikhwan book written by KH Ikhsan bin Syech Muhammad Dahlan. The book stated three
rules on smoking, and none of the rules said it is haram, he said.

Source :,20080815-131008,uk.html