POST C: Finding the truth of this non-smoking campus

Our group’s project is to study the tobacco problem in UMY. So, we did observations and interviews in the UMY campus. I picked up some details when I was making observations on the campus. For example, there are many non-smoking signs on the campus. I found many no-smoking signs on the walls and pillars. No-smoking signs were also found in the student activity area behind the main building. This is a smoke-free campus. Through research, we learned that national policies of Indonesia include: Prohibit smoking on public transit and in healthcare facilities, educational facilities, and places of worship (The Union, 2019). The Faculty of Sociology and Politics, University of Indonesia (UI) has announced that the UI has become a 100% smoke-free campus (SEATCA, 2019). The policy of banning smoking in universities can effectively educate students about the dangers of smoking and protect the health of non-smokers. It’s a very good rule. But I still have a question, will the students strictly abide by the smoking rules? So, I interviewed three kinds of people: a female student, two male students, and a tutor.


That girl, Ayu, is a non-smoker. She said there is no smoker in her family, so neither she nor her brother is a smoker. This reminds me of the previous research on children’s smoking. Most children and teenagers’ smokers are influenced by their families. At the same time, she says, many of her peers started smoking at age 8. This just shows the serious problem of underage smoking in Indonesia. When I asked Ayu is the smoking signs in her school are working well, she hesitated for a moment before replying: “These smoking signs are not useful.” She was resigned to the situation.

The second interviewer is two boys who often smoking. They were coming merrily down the corridor. I quickly stopped them to ask about the smoking problem on campus. They said they had just finished smoking and were ready to return to class. I was very surprised. They say many classmates will smoke on campus and few will ban smoking. “Because there is no punishment for smoking at all.” said one of the boys. Another boy said his reason for smoking was to fit in with classmates and friends. In Indonesia, smoking is a social tool among boys. If you can’t smoke, you’re not a ‘cool guy’. That reason brings us to a solution. Perhaps, through the design, we can change the way that people think about smoking, and provide these students with an alternative to smoking?

The third interviewer was a tutor. We told him gently that there was smoking on campus. However, he was not surprised at all. He said that he tried to stop it yet, but he can’t change anything. The school doesn’t have any punishment for smoking. The education bureau does not allow them to take any form of punishment. And that gives us a little bit of inspiration. Designers can ‘reward’ students for choosing not to smoke.

I think these three interviews are very important, they help us to know more about the truth of the smoking status on campus and combine these realities to design. In order to change the long-term smoking status in Indonesia and protect the health of non-smokers, society and universities must implement smoke-free policies (Kaufman, Merritt, Rimbatmaja and Cohen, 2014). So, we decided to combine this information to design a truly smoke-free campus.


Dhumieres, M. 2013, The number of children smoking in Indonesia is getting out of control, Public Radio International. viewed 18 December 2019, <;.

Kaufman, M., Merritt, A., Rimbatmaja, R. and Cohen, J. 2014, ‘Excuse me, sir. Please don’t smoke here’. A qualitative study of social enforcement of smoke-free policies in Indonesia, Health Policy and Planning, vol 30, no 8, pp.995-1002, viewed <;.

SEATCA 2019, University of Indonesia has become a 100% smoke-free campus – Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, viewed 18 December 2019, <;.

The Union 2019, Indonesia, viewed 18 December 2019, <;.

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