The tobacco and cigarette industry and Indonesia have had such a long history it has become intertwined with the culture of the country, being one of the biggest industries within Indonesia and the second largest in all of Asia just behind China it supplies 96% of Indonesia’s national excise total. What does this mean for the youth of the country, with the legal minimum age of smoking being 18 this has really no control over how easily tobacco and cigarettes are accessible to the youth of the country. The industry remains largely unregulated especially in remote farming areas where the production of large amounts of tobacco occurs and for this reason it can be easily obtained. In those areas children as young as 8 can buy a single cigarette from the road side house for a couple of cents. It has been documented that one in five children aged between 12 and 15 smoke and have access to tobacco and cigarettes through family, their community village and their social circle.
To tackle this epidemic, we have to look at ways the youth and nation can be supported through other industries within the country. It is a known fact that direct tobacco advertising is still allowed, and the countries youngest generation are still exposed to this, they see it in shops, billboards, TV commercials and social media. The other major promotion is through sponsorship for music festivals and sporting events, because this money is available, local communities can support underprivileged schools and provide funding for poorer families in the area that are not provided for by their own National Government. This is why many refuses to change the current status quo and ignored the problems, many communities need this type of sponsorship to survive and the financial aid outweighs the health concerns.
Education is the second biggest change that needs to occur, they need to know and be given information about the harmful effects of smoking and change the idea that smoking is “cool” to smoking can “kill”. Advertising Models of this are beginning in the country for example, the Indonesians Heart Foundation’s “keren tanpa rokok” and “smoke-free agents” movement. However, having positive solutions in place without support from Government and government officials, limits the overall effect of the campaign.
In review living in an environment where smoking is the norm, it is not only the governments responsibility to change the concept that smoking is ok, it getting the information out and changing individuals mindset and stopping it before it gets out of control.
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