Daerah Ibukota Yogyakarta is Java island’s soul, where the Javanese language is the purest (Lonely Planet, 2019). Yogya or often written as Jogja is one of the most active cultural centers in Indonesia. Behind the beauty of its nature and the exotic culinary, Yogyakarta is a city where young active smokers are often found (Octavia, 2017). Research in 2005 suggests that the percentage of young active smokers in Indonesia is 38% among boys and 5.3% among girls (Ng, Weinehall & Ohman, 2006). Fast forward to 2013, another research done shows that the percentage of daily smokers has grown, and in Yogyakarta itself has reached 21.2% (Octavia, 2017). Based on research, smokers in Yogyakarta consist of two categories, one is the experimental smoker, and the other one is a regular smoker (Marwati, 2011).
The beauty of companionship: School children spend time in a convenience store in Pejaten, Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta. Some of the teens enjoy smoking while chatting.
(thejakartapost.com/Elly Burhaini Faizal)
What are the factors that may lead to a growing number of young smokers?
Indonesia itself is the top fifth tobacco consuming countries in the world (Ng, Weinehall & Ohman, 2006), and is the second-largest cigarette market in Asia (Indonesia Investments, 2016). This may happen as tobacco companies in Indonesia have a huge political and financial impact on the country, and are the government’s top five largest sources of revenue (Reynolds, 1999). The tobacco industry itself is very strong, as it employs more than 11 million workers and is the second-largest employer after the government (Nichter M, Padmawati S, Danardono M, et al, 2009).
Another article suggests that a study revealed that youths perceived cigarette ads as encouraging them to smoke (Prabandari & Dewi 2016). Cigarette advertising can be found anywhere in Indonesia, starting from television, big billboard over the highway, magazines, and even newspapers. Besides advertisements, movies that show scenes that expose the act of smoking may be one of the encouraging factors for youngsters to smoke (Prabandari & Dewi 2016), just like how children often mimic their parents’ behavior.
A smoking advertisement on a billboard shared by Sebastian Strangio on Twitter.
Tarwoto (2010) suggests that some factors that may lead to the habit of smoking are social status, the pressure of colleagues, the influence of parents who smoke, and the belief that smoking will not affect health. Besides all that, Indonesia has a lack of tobacco control, as it is stated that this country is behind in terms of the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control signature and ratification (Ng, Weinehall & Ohman, 2006).
Is there any effort done to tackle this problem?
Many have been done in order to reduce young smokers in Indonesia. One very good example that was done in Yogyakarta by one researcher, was launching a smoke-free home activity back in 2011 in 9 neighborhoods in Yogyakarta (Marwati, 2011). Smoke-free signs were put on every house, but this doesn’t mean that it forbids people to smoke, but rather to appeal to smokers to provide fresh air for other people (Marwati, 2011).
Map of Central Java, where Yogyakarta, the city where I did my research, is highlighted.
Faizal, E. B, 2016, Social media plays role in youth smoking, says expert, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/21/social-media-plays-role-youth-smoking-says-expert.html>.
Indonesia Investments, 2016, Tobacco & Cigarette Industry Indonesia, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://www.indonesia-investments.com/business/industries-sectors/tobacco/item6873>.
Lonely Planet, 2019, Welcome to Yogyakarta, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/java/yogyakarta>.
Marwati, 2011, 16 Percent of Junior and Senior High School Students in Yogyakarta City are Smokers, viewed 22 November 2019, <https://ugm.ac.id/en/news/6536-16-percent-of-junior-and-senior-high-school-students-in-yogyakarta-city-are-smokers>.
Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. Öhman, 2006, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking, Health Education Research, vol. 22, no. 6, pp 794–804, viewed 22 November 2019, <https://academic.oup.com/her/article/22/6/794/640787>.
Nichter M, Padmawati S, Danardono M, et al, 2009, ‘Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 18, no. 02, pp 98-107, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/18/2/98>.
Octavia, A. A, 2017, Meningkatnya Perokok Aktif Remaja di Yogyakarta (The increasing number of teenage active smokers in Yogyakarta), Kompasiana, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://www.kompasiana.com/agnessayuu/5a1fe9a72599ec3ccd0e9074/meningkatnya-perokok-aktif-remaja-di-yogyakarta-meski-sudah-banyak-peringatan-bahaya-merokok-bagi-kesehatan>.
Prabandari, Y. S. & Dewi, A. 2016, ‘How do Indonesian youth perceive cigarette advertising? A cross-sectional study among Indonesian high school students’, Global Health Action, vol. 9, no. 01, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.3402/gha.v9.30914?scroll=top&needAccess=true>.
Reynolds, C. 1999, ‘Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”’, Tobacco Control, vol. 8, pp 85-88. viewed 22 November 2019, <https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/8/1/85>.
Strangio, S. 2017, This cigarette advertisement in #Yogyakarta urges smokers to “never quit” #Indonesia, Twitter, viewed 22 November 2019, <https://twitter.com/sstrangio/status/886872286195613698>.
Tarwoto, 2010. Kesehatan Remaja : Problem dan Solusinya, Salemba Medika, Jakarta, viewed 21 November 2019, <https://kink.onesearch.id/Record/IOS3254.slims-687>.