“Smoking is protected by law and is a legal activity.”Aditia Purnomo posted this sign outside her office in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Purnomo started Komunitas Kretek in October 2010 with the goal of sending a message to the “anti-smoking fundamentalists” from western societies: ‘none of your business!’.

Indonesia is rich in cloves and made into a local specialty-Kretek. According to statistics, about 90% of smokers in Indonesia usually smoke cigarettes instead of foreign brands. In Purnomo’s eyes, T-cigarettes are a symbol of Indonesia’s native culture and defending T-cigarettes from the impact of western anti-smoking waves is like a “patriotic movement”.

The smoker’s human rights organization aims to “defend national sovereignty and protect local tobacco products from foreign brands and the threat of anti-smoking.” In addition to encouraging people to continue smoking in places such as bars and coffee shops, smoker human rights organizations are also trade promotion partners for local tobacco companies.

The organization also believes that not only is not addictive, but it can also straighten out breathing and even treat tracheal diseases such as asthma. In addition, some studies have found that some common edible vegetables also contain nicotine, so the nicotine smoked from cigarettes may not be a fatal cause; Banning cigarettes means cracking down on the tobacco market and hurting those who benefit from charity funds and scholarships from tobacco companies.


According to statistics, of the total population of about 250 million in Indonesia, about 67.4% of adult males and about 2.7% of adult females are smokers, and the total number of smokers reaches 70 million. On average, about 400,000 people die each year from diseases caused by smoking, and the related public health crisis has brought an additional US $ 7 billion in national economic spending, which is about 2.4% of the country’s GDP. However, it is generally believed that the number of smokers in Indonesia will continue to rise and will exceed 80 million in 2020 and approach 100 million in 2025.


Besides, smoking is popular among young children. Cigarettes were used to increase the boys’ social status among their friends. If they smoked a ‘good’, expensive and popular cigarette brand, they felt more confident, more mature and richer than their peers. To them, smoking and tobacco advertisements were signs of several positive connotations, such as ‘a steady life’, ‘pleasure’ and something like that. ( Nawi, 2006).




Catherine R, 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, viewed 26 Nov 2019,

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Nawi Ng, L 2006, Health Education Research, ‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking , viewed 26 Nov 2019,



Tasha, W 2019, ABC NEWS, Tackling Indonesia’s smoking addiction a ‘double-edged sword’, viewed on 26 Nov, 2019,

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Retna Siwi Padmawati  Nawi Ng Yayi Suryo Prabandari Mark Nichter 2009, Wiley Online Library, Smoking among diabetes patients in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: cessation efforts are urgently needed, viewed 26 nov2019,


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