Smoking habits within Indonesian culture starts from a very young age. With primary research showing the direct correlation to smoking and peer pressure in schools, I was interested to see how education plays a role in the tobacco epidemic. Sreeramareddy et al. (2014), speaks of tobacco use being associated with lower education and poverty, showing over 70% of Indonesian tobacco users having only received equivalent of a primary education. Complementary to this report, Sohn (2013), conducted a study which showed the beneficial effects high school education levels had on smoking behaviour. The effects in this study correlate to the cognitive skills, risk aversion and patience taught during this time in school that are mediating factors to smoking behaviours. To develop on this research, I decided to speak with a UNAIR (Airlangga University) student, Indra about his personal experience with tobacco.
Indra is a university student studying health at Airlangga University. Indra suffers from Asthma and therefore chooses not to smoke. His friends are extremely supportive of his decision and if they’re smokers themselves, they always make sure they don’t smoke around him. Indra’s father was a heavy smoker for a large part of his life. He quit last year as he was diagnosed with a lung disease which made him realise how this habit was effecting his health. When I spoke with Indra about his family’s support and understanding of the health issues associated with tobacco use, he told me that if he were to partake in smoking, he believes he would be kicked out of home. Indra told me that his school was of high calibre and therefore he believes his education has made a direct contribution to his choice of not smoking. From speaking with Indra, I realised how education and family/community support was a driving factor in the choices made towards tobacco consumption. Being educated in a school and home environment has made a direct effect on Indra’s view of smoking.
A study conducted by Hiscock et al. (2017), in Indonesia, shows that uptake of smoking is higher among those of a low socioeconomic status and that quit attempts are less likely to be successful. This study shows that from reduced social support, low motivation to quit and stronger addictions, this income bracket has a higher prevalence of smoking culture. Although education isn’t the only factor at play to help prevent smoking, my experience within Surabaya showed me that public awareness of the adverse effects of smoking is limited. In order to start making a change to a behaviour so ingrained in the culture of this country, we must look at informing the public of the risks associated to tobacco use across all socioeconomic levels, especially those of low income and low education.
Sohn, K. (2013). A note on the effects of education on youth smoking in a developing country. Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, [online] 19(1), pp.66-73. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kitae_Sohn2/publication/263607895_A_note_on_the_effects_of_education_on_youth_smoking_in_a_developing_country/links/5b422d8baca2728a0d62bd76/A-note-on-the-effects-of-education-on-youth-smoking-in-a-developing-country.pdf [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].
Sreeramareddy, C., Pradhan, P., Mir, I. and Sin, S. (2014). Smoking and smokeless tobacco use in nine South and Southeast Asian countries: prevalence estimates and social determinants from Demographic and Health Surveys. Population Health Metrics, [online] 12(1). Available at: https://pophealthmetrics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12963-014-0022-0#Sec9 [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].
Hiscock, R., Bauld, L., Amos, A., Fidler, J. and Manufo, M. (2017). Socioeconomic status and smoking: a review. Addiction Reviews. [online] Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, pp.107-123. Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/41157251/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].