Indonesia is a major consumer and producer of tobacco, ranking third among countries globally (Achadi et al., 2005). With over 62% of Indonesian adult males smoking regularly (Achadi et al., 2005), I was interested to find out what practices created such high statistics. Through my limited yet immersive experience in Surabaya, Indonesia so far, I have noticed a vast array of practices associated around Tobacco consumption. One interesting association with the use of tobacco within Surabaya is how smoking is strongly tied to drinking coffee.
I was recently taken on a walking tour of Surabaya, where I was able to see how smoking is so ingrained within Indonesian culture, with communal cigarette cans being placed at all the local cafes. Within Surabaya Warung Kopis (coffee shops), customers are able to purchase their coffee as well as single cigarettes. Smoking has strong social ties within the community in Indonesia, where you can find individuals smoking more often with friends than alone (Smet et al., 1999).
This social tie can be seen not only in the street coffee shops, but also in the large malls such as Tunjungan Plaza, where majority of the coffee shops have smoking rooms out the back of the cafe. Giving individuals the ability to enjoy their coffee and cigarette with friends, while still in the comforts of the mall.
Smoking is a culturally internalised habit in Indonesia, with cigarettes being shared at celebratory events and festivals (Nawi et al., 2007). This social smoking culture is only enhanced with local cafe’s and restaurants feeling the pressures to remain a welcoming environment for smokers. Not only do the local cafes sell cigarettes as well as their own goods, but they also display large signs outside their shops of favourited cigarette brands in order to further entice clientele.
With cigarette smoking being shown to increase the consumption of coffee (Treur et al., 2016) one can see how Warung Kopis and Tobacco brands accompany one another to create a pleasant sensory experience. Although this business partnership is idealistic for economic growth, smoking practices not only effect the smokers themselves, but it also effects the passive, involuntary smokers who don’t choose to directly smoke, but are simply being impacted by their environment. From my experience in Surabaya so far, these individuals are the true victims of the Tobacco epidemic.
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