After China, Indonesia is the second-largest cigarette market in Asia. It is estimated that around 65 percent of Indonesian men are smokers. For Indonesian women, the figure is much lower – around 3 percent only (Indonesia Investment 2016). Most of the smokers start smoking from early age and got addicted eventually. An estimated of 58.1% of men adults aged over 15 years old were current smokers and as the age increased the prevalence of current smoking increased by almost 20% (Kristina et al. 2016). But people with higher level of education were less likely to currently smoke than a high school education people. Through a research conducted by a university student in Yogyakarta, non-smokers indicate that they have a higher quality of life compared to smokers, and in general showed a significant relationship with others (Perdana 2014).
The different percentage of men adults smokers and non-smokers over 15 years old in Yogyakarta and their reasons to smoke.
Smoking can lead to different diseases one of them is diabetes. In Yogyakarta Province, 65% of male diabetes patients smoked before being diagnosed (Padmawati et al. 2009). But despite knowing that they suffer from diabetes, 32% still smoked in the last 30 days, many diabetic patients continue to smoke despite the hazard of smoking on diabetes complications and mortality. Lack of education is one of the biggest factors of smokers in Indonesia. They think that if they don’t smoke, they are not a real man. Smoking is used as a metaphor for masculinity, potency and bravery. and by not smoking society will treat them as ‘abnormal’ (Ng, Weinehall, Öhman 2006). The norms and values relating to smoking in Javanese society has becoming the reasons for their smoking. In Java culture, cigarettes are often introduced to young boys during the traditional religious ritual of circumcision, which in this society occurs at the age of 10–12 years.
Icha, 16, began smoking when she was 13 after a friend offered a cigarette to smoke together. Now, she smokes at least one pack of 12 cigarettes each day (CNN Health 2017).
Therefore, smoking among Java is associated with both traditional and modern culture, as well as religious practice. Smoking is deeply rooted and accepted by the society since it was introduced in Indonesia a long time ago, in the 16th century, making smokers hard to quit and even doesn’t have desire to quit. In Indonesia smoking and tobacco advertisements were signs of several positive connotations, such as ‘a steady life’, ‘pleasure’, ‘good taste’, ‘feel so rich’, ‘impressive’, ‘good appearance’ and ‘attractive’. Government need to act fast to establish a clear understanding to citizens especially young people to not think smoking as a privileged, however they should start treating it as something they shouldn’t try since young age.
Indonesia Investments 2016, ‘Tobacco & Cigarette Industry Indonesia’, Indonesia Investments, viewed 23 November 2019, <https://www.indonesia-investments.com/business/industries-sectors/tobacco/item6873>.
Kristina, S. A., Endarti, D., Widayanti, A. W., Widiastuti, M. 2015, ‘Health-related Quality of Life Among Smokers in Yogyakarta‘, International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, viewed 23 November 2019, <http://impactfactor.org/PDF/IJPCR/8/IJPCR,Vol8,Issue1,Article18.pdf>.
Ng, N., Weinehall, L., Öhman, A. 2006, ‘‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking’, Indonesia Investments, viewed 23 November 2019, <https://academic.oup.com/her/article/22/6/794/640787>.
Padmawati, R. S., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. S., Nichter, M. 2009, ‘Smoking among diabetes patients in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: cessation efforts are urgently needed’, Wiley Online Library, viewed 23 November 2019, <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02241.x>.
Perdana, S. S. 2014, ‘HUBUNGAN STATUS MEROKOK DENGAN KUALITAS HIDUP DI KOTA YOGYAKARTA’ (THE RELATIONSHIP OF SMOKERS WITH THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE IN YOGYAKARTA), Gadjah Mada University, viewed 23 November 2019, <http://etd.repository.ugm.ac.id/index.php?mod=penelitian_detail&sub=PenelitianDetail&act=view&typ=html&buku_id=72650>.
Senthilingam, M. 2017, ‘Chain-smoking children: Indonesia’s ongoing tobacco epidemic’, CNN Health, viewed 23 November 2019, <https://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/30/health/chain-smoking-children-tobacco-indonesia/index.html>.