Blog Post C: Youth and Gender Smoking – An Interview in Indonesia

Primary research conducted throughout the studio was done primarily with students from ITS and UNAIR university.
These students identified as: Niluh (21), Achmad (20), Intan (21), Ida (21), Ica (21), Dea (21), Sat (20), Nyssa (20), Nat (20).

Smoking-Indonesia.jpgWithin these interviews, the discussion of cultural practices surrounding gender and youth smoking brought forward unexpected insights. The smoking culture within the youth community shows disparities between genders changing their behaviours and practices.

The following results from the interviews were conducted with both men and women.

Despite the early educational warnings surrounding smoking, “around the time of elementary school”, youth continue to smoke. UNAIR students reported that they learnt about the risks between the ages of 6 and 8. “These lessons are learnt in school in science”, showing that for youth in their teenage years (Martini, S et al. 2005) are beginning to smoke.

The particular views the Indonesian people have on women smoking, including the youth population, have misogynistic overtones which can leave them with a bad reputation and personal image. This was discovered when talking to ITS students over the course of the studio and has been reiterated by Nawai Ng et al (Ng, N et al. 2006). Reasons for this stated by the ITS students, related to women smoking, are that women who smoke are bad influences and can be judge or assumed to be a prostitute. Gestures such as offering a cigarette or placing a light in a certain position can be an indication of an offering of one’s body. In the paper ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’, it is stated that “it is inappropriate and not well mannered for women to smoke. ‘Only prostitutes smoke’ (Ng, N et al. 2006). But it is very appropriate for men to smoke”. Because of these views, some women feel the need to rebel against societal views and smoke to prove a point. This in itself is problematic as it is seeing an increased number of young women smoking, according to ITS students.

Contrastingly in a masculine world smoking is seen and advertised as a manly trait. With self-image being a greatly important part of a growing man’s life, this can cripple their confidence if they are isolated for being a non-smoker. With Indonesia’s youth population being more than a third of its entire population (The Conversation, 2018), the rate of young male smoker’s is growing rapidly.

It shows with the existing factors and the heavy burden the growing youth population has to manage such as their economy, the importance and urgency to resolve the tobacco dependency is rising.


Ng, N., Weinehall, L., Öhman, A. 2006, If I dont smoke, Im not a real man Indonesian teenage boys views about smoking, viewed 19 December 2018, <;


Martini, S., Sulistyowati, M. 2005, The Determinants of Smoking Behaviour among Teenages in East Java Province, Indonesia, viewed 19 December 2018, <;sequence=1&gt;
The Conversation, Protecting young Indonesian hearts from tobacco, 7 June 2018, viewed 19 December 2018, <;

Image: Youth Smoking: an un-natural disaster, viewed 19 December 2018, <;

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