POST D: Sex Lies and Cigarettes

Warren Buffet once described the cigarette as the perfect product saying “ you can make it for a penny, sell it for a dollar and it’s addictive”(Vanguard. 2011.) but this statement is becoming less and less true in the developed world, with heavy taxes imposed on cigarettes due to knowledge and education around the danger of smoking, tobacco companies are losing major profits and popularity within the developed world. So what they came up with was a tactic to target an aggressive campaign in developing countries such as Indonesia, where no laws or restriction exist in regards to smoking, which gives tobacco companies ultimate power over consumers.

In Indonesia its like going back in time, with tobacco ads blanketing the streets, tv’s and major events such as the nation soccer league and music events like  flo Rida, black eyed peas, smashing pumpkins,muse, and slash all being sponsored by major cigarette companies. From this you can see why Indonesia is becoming the new Marlboro Country with over 400,000 smoking related deaths each year. (Vanguard. 2011.)

The major problem that exists in indonesia are the unethical practices they use in advertising,which Masli – Former advertising executive for philip morris – marlboro cigarette companie say the are targeting children as young as 14 in these campaigns, presenting smoking as youthful and cool (Vanguard. 2011.), not only advertisements are to blame, they also use tactics of selling single cigarettes for as much as 5 cents each, which is like candy in attracting young smokers and uses stalls that can be found directly outside schools. With no legal age to buy cigarettes, it is typical in Indonesian culture for kids as young as 5 to start smoking to fit in and feel “free”.(SBS. 2015.)

But the unethical practices don’t stop there not only do they lie about targeting children, they also hide important information about the health risks, for example in an Indonesian health bill, the clause that smoking is addictive, was removed before it was signed by the president, stirring up allegations of corruption(Smoke Free Kids 2015)(Vanguard. 2011). The government do not seem to be very interested in stopping this industry, unless viral videos such as the smoking baby become bad publicity, using the excuse that its a vital industry that employs over a million workers, ignoring the fact that they are spending millions in health care as a result.(Vanguard. 2011)

The resistance is starting to grow in Indonesia as activists like Ita Rama are actively involved in the community, educating students about the dangers of smoking which is the first time they have heard smoking is dangerous. The struggle will be strenuous and long, with an already addicted nation where will the future lie for Indonesia?


Dunhill Cigarette TV Commercial 2013 -HD – YouTube. 2015. Dunhill Cigarette TV Commercial 2013 -HD – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 May 2015].

SBS. 2015. Smoke Alarm, [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 01 May 2015].

Smoke Free Kids 2015, Indonesia: Tobacco Control Advocates Expose Corruption after Tobacco Clause Found Missing from the National Health Bill viewed April, 22nd 2015, <

Vanguard. 2011. Sex, Lies and Cigarettes. [Online Video],28 Jun. 2011. Available from: [Accessed: 22 April 2015].

One thought on “POST D: Sex Lies and Cigarettes

  1. This is a really informative post about a huge and expanding issue in Indonesia, I think visual communication can be hugely powerful in addressing this – particularly utilising the obsession by Indonesian youth with social media.

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