Indonesia’s Child Smokers on the Rise

Smoking Indonesian

In the latest movie shown on Britain’s Channel 4, Health Minister of indonesia Nafsiah Mboi accepts the fact that it’s complicated to quit the smoking pandemic.

A study published in September this year, backed by World Health Organization and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, determined that Indonesian men rank as the world’s top smokers. Two-thirds of Indonesian males over 15 years old are smokers.

The percentage of children who are regular smokers is rising. There’s been a seven-fold raise in the number of youngsters smoking in less than a decade. And a quarter of Indonesian young adults smoke.

Law enforcements are weakened in Indonesia. Everybody can buy cigarettes. And there is no provided information on the risk of smoking.

Indonesia is among countries, which include North Korea and Zimbabwe, that has neglected to sign the WHO’s tobacco treaty.

The treaty limits advertising, marketing and sponsorship of tobacco products and prohibits sales of cigarettes to those under 18.

There should not be any tobacco promotions within 100 m of school. But in fact, ads on billboards – which are a great deal across Indonesia – show smoking as a contemporary, stylish activity that should be followed by young people.

When questioned what’s preventing Indonesia from signing the treaty, Nafsiah said that it’s complicated because Indonesia gets earnings from tobacco tax. Tobacco industry offers work for 10 million people and makes up about 10% of whole earnings.

Although cigarette makers strongly point out that they are not focusing on children, but their activities say otherwise.

In a private marketing document received by Channel 4 from one of Indonesia’s major tobacco companies, cigarette makers are trying to attract young adults aged 18-25.

In the document, attributes applied include young, amazing, contemporary, trendy and aspirational.

The Channel 4 team filmed pre-teenagers in Probolinggo, East Java, selecting and smoking tobacco which was delivered to large cigarette makers.

It turns out to be their source of earnings.

Priyono Adi Nugroho of Indonesia’s Child Protection Institute said that kid labor in the tobacco industry is harmful work.

“Youngsters are meant to go to school, study and play. But in fact, they work for the companies which produce cigarettes. Then they take up cigarettes and consider it as a common deal.”


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