Post C: Interview about Tobacco Usage in Yogyakarta and Indonesian Culture with Adibah

Adibah works as a student tutor at the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) for the Igov team. UMY is a smoke free campus that has a zero tobacco tolerance for staff and students. I began the interview by asking Adibah: “Do you smoke tobacco/cigarettes with your friends and if you do, why do you smoke?”


“I don’t smoke, but my father and my brother does. So I am indirectly influenced by the smoke at home. Everyday I breathe in their smoke. 

I felt as though Adibah was concerned by her second hand consumption of smoke in the home since she knows about the negative long term effects of tobacco usage. 


“My brother only started smoking last year”


“Oh, why?”


“In Indonesia we have service, like community service, helping with the campus. He was sent to a rural area in Brebes. Brebes is one of the regions in Central Java, 8 hours away from here. The society in Central Java loves smoking so he needed to be used to smoke when they have the general meeting in the village. When he came back home he started to smoke, but not in the house only on campus probably, so my mum won’t know that he smokes. He is not educated about the harms of smoking.” 


“So why don’t you smoke?”


“In Indonesian habit, the woman sees smoking as not normal for herself. Whenever I am wearing my hijab (and I am seen smoking) it will seem like I am a bad person and non law abiding.” 

I smiled at this, thinking to myself that Adibah is such a sweet person the connotation of her being bad if she smoked was amusing to me. I explained: “I am smiling because it’s funny to me that culture makes people believe certain things, you know what I mean?”

Adibah giggled,

“In Indonesia there are a lot of myths that are believed by Indonesians that are wrong but people still believe it. Like for a child, it says that if children are not back home by 5pm they will be taken by the ghost to another world. Lots of children still believe this myth.”

The cultural stigmas around tobacco consumption in Indonesia has allowed for Adibah to have a healthier lifestyle in comparison to the males around her. Attending UMY has also let her work and study in a place that is smoke free, which protects her from second hand consumption in the workplace however not at home around the smoke of her brother and father. 

Photo of Adibah taken outside of Move On café in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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