When walking around Jogja 2 nursing students Naila and Elma asked to interview us on HIV for their university project. In return we asked them some questions about their opinions on tobacco in Indonesia. It was great to hear a nuanced perspective which was from a young person who understood youth culture, as well as well health students who were highly educated on tobaccos’ effects on the body.
When I asked Naila what her opinion was on smoking she gave me a lengthy and well educated reply. She talked about the way that cigarette smoke makes up a large portion of the air pollution in Indonesia. It is the most important indoor air pollutant (Mangunnegoro and Sutoyo 1996). She also stated that passive smoking is more dangerous than active smoking. This shocked me and was something I hadn’t heard before. When I did some research later this checked out and I found that the smoke which hasn’t passed through the filter of the cigarette has more harmful chemicals than the smoke that the active smoker is inhaling (Cleveland Clinic 2017). Naila also said that 90% of tuberculosis cases in Indonesia are caused from smoking.
We then went on to talk about why people smoke in Indonesia. I wanted to know if people knew the risks or not. She said that they usually do, however people like her father have trouble quitting because they are already deeply addicted. Elma then told me that it took a big scare with lung disease in her family for everyone to stop smoking. None of them smoke anymore, however it is a concerning truth that it may take many smokers a brush with death to realise the reality of the health effects of tobacco.
When speaking about child smoking Naila said that the main reason kids smoke is by association. They see family and peers smoking and because they haven’t been educated about the risks yet they try it out. She called teens ‘labil’ which translates to unstable. Teen brains are much more likely to take risks, especially when around peers (Bessant, 2008). Naila believed that it’s perceived as ‘cool’ to smoke and some kids feel left out if they refuse.
This interview shed light on some new facts I didn’t know about and solidified ideas we already had. Naila had some interesting facts about tobacco that she had learnt at university which we hadn’t heard before. As well as some important insight into youth tobacco culture.
Bessant, J. 2008. Hard wired for risk: Neurological science,‘the adolescent brain’and developmental theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3), pp.347-360.
Cleveland Clinic 2017, Second Hand Smoke Dangers, viewed 20 Dec 2019, <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10644-secondhand-smoke-dangers>
Mangunnegoro, H. and Sutoyo, D.K., 1996. Environmental and occupational lung diseases in Indonesia. Respirology, 1(2), pp.85-93.
Trichopoulos, D., Kalandidi, A., Sparros, L. and Macmahon, B., 1981. Lung cancer and passive smoking. International journal of cancer, 27(1), pp.1-4.