Post A: the link between government, advertising and youth smoking

There are many factors which influence the use of tobacco products in Indonesia, with one of those influences being the marketing and sponsorship from tobacco companies in various events from music to sporting events. Advertisements for Kretek and other types of cigarettes has become regularly appear on television and billboards across Indonesia, and there are no bans in government and private offices or restaurants or bars (Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, 2011).

A poster for tobacco advertising I encountered outside of a small convenience store in Magelang, Java, Indonesia

Along with the many advertisements plastered around the streets of Java promoting smoking with slogans such as “never quit”, various events around Indonesia including Java are sponsored by large tobacco companies- and example being the ‘Java Rockin’land’ music festival held annually, one of the biggest music festivals in Indonesia with popular international artists usually performing. There has been and still is controversy surrounding this festival due to the fact that the event is sponsored by Gudang Garang, the biggest tobacco manufacturer in Indonesia, who actively sponsor events and festivals which target digital natives, referring to them as “Generation G” (Tjandra, 2018).

Poster for Java Rockin’land 2011. Source: Cranberries World

School children are encouraged to attend the event through discounted tickets prices being offered to them, and the Tobacco company does not acknowledge their encouragement of smoking towards minors: “Through this grand event, Gudang Garang International attempts to create a closer proximity for the genre’s younger crowds to their idols” (Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, 2010). Indonesia is the only country in Asia which has not signed or ratified the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC), which includes restrictions on the extent to which tobacco companies can lobby governments, as well as sales to children and passive smoking (Tjandra, 2018). As a result, Indonesia is the only country which still allows direct tobacco advertising, and whilst the advertising on television and radio is restricted between 9:30pm and 5am to reduce exposure to children and teenagers, this doesn’t prove to be very effective.

Diagram showing how each stakeholder links to eachother

The tobacco industry also positions itself as integral to society via corporate social responsibility (CSR), much of which directly involves young people. Another major Indonesian tobacco company Sampoerna has developed its own educational pathway called ‘Sampoerna School System’, which distributes scholarships, supports underprivileged schools and trains teachers and principals, and Djarum sponsord ‘Djarum Superliga Badminton’ and establishes sports training academies for young people. Therefore, it is easy to say that there is a clear link between governments, design and marketing with the high smoking rates in Indonesia.


Unknown Author, 2011, In Indonesia, Rampant Smoking Begins at an Early Age, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance,

Unknown Author, 2010, International artists performing at Indonesian tobacco-sponsored rock festival despite protests, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance,

Tjandra, N, 2018, Disneyland for Big Tobacco’: how Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked, The Conversation,

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