Indonesias wicked problem of tobacco is largely attributed to its economic contribution, allowing tobacco companies to have great power over the nation. Designers have played a large role in the enablement of the tobacco industry, through manipulative packaging design and advertisements. The extent of Indonesias extreme tobacco issue, was showcased to the world in 2010 with Aldi Rizal the “smoking baby” going viral (Topsfield, 2017). This circumstance exemplified the ways in which Indonesias appalling tobacco culture, can impact a young life. Designers have played a significant role in the enablement of the tobacco industry, in Indonesia, through taking part in designing tobacco products. All tobacco products including their packaging and advertisements have been made possible through the work of a designer. The designer has a choice whether they feel comfortable in taking part within this industry. It is a choice which they must make based on their values and ethics.
The tobacco industry itself is so powerful that it controls the entire nation and the governments choices around tobacco regulations. This is due to its significant political and economic influence, as the tobacco industry is the Indonesian government’s largest source of tax revenue (Tjandra, Ensor, Thomson, 2014). Although the tobacco industry has immense power over the nation, designers play a pivotal role in the shaping of consumer opinions, and so they too possess great power. Whether they choose to use it ethically or not, is up to them.
Designers face many difficulties when deciding if a design role is ethical or not. Ethics can be defined through the utilitarian approach, “ethical decisions should maximise benefits for society and minimise harms. What matters is the net balance of good consequences over bad for society overall” (Trevino & Nelson, 2011). In Indonesia, designers posses a great deal of responsibility toward society, to create ethical solutions to design problems. A designers main goal is to fulfil the clients brief and to create a satisfactory product for the stakeholders. Combining these goals with an ethical approach to design, is quite a complex task in Indonesia, when the power of tobacco is evident in daily life.
Designers could become ethical agents for change through design activism by utilising their skills and ethical compass, to create designs which reflect truthfulness rather than contributing to packaging (e.g, cigarettes), which display misleading ideas. Designers and creative culture makers could work together to make a change by fighting for policy changes regarding TAPS. Design activism could take the form of a renewed way of thinking, spread through ethical design. Overall, designers in Indonesia are faced with the difficult task of combining the clients needs with an ethical approach to design. When designing, they must consider how the outcome of their work will impact an entire society and peoples lives directly.
Alexandra C, 2019, ‘Design Activism in an Indonesian Village’, Massachusetts Institute of Technology DesignIssues: Volume 35, Number 3.
Tjandra C, Ensor J, Thomson E, 2014,’Tobacco children: An ethical evaluation of tobacco marketing in Indonesia’, Edinburgh Napier University.
Through conducting primary research and analysis, it has become clear that smoking in Indonesia is part of a complex social construct, whereby tobacco use has been labelled as an aspect of Indonesian ‘culture’. During my time in Java, I was able to interview Novaldy, a tour guide who I met in Temanggung. He had many things to say about the tobacco industry, as well as how we could influence people to understand the negative aspects of smoking, through education.
Novaldy had a comprehensive understanding of the manipulation from the government and the role which they play in the wicked problem of tobacco in Indonesia. Despite the extreme social pressures from friends and family, it was noted that the governments role in tobacco funding and allowing for advertisements, is the root of the problem. He expressed concerns that Indonesia is still one of the few countries in the world who have not signed the World Health Organisations ‘Framework Convention on Tobacco’ and have not implemented any bans on tobacco advertising. In accordance with Novaldy’s comments on the issue, an online source states that the high exposure of tobacco advertising, as well as cheap and easily accessible cigarettes have led to a significant increase in smoking rates (Astuti PAS, Freeman B, 2017). These factors combined with social pressures have resulted in a high rate of underage smoking. Novaldy pointed out that it infuriates him to see all the boys in his village smoking whilst riding their bikes through the streets. In his opinion, the young boys, feel as though they need to smoke, in order to be considered masculine and to fit in with their friends. A report on youth smoking throughout Java, indicates that the widespread presence of underage smoking, is largely attributed to peer pressure and social/cultural ideas that smoking is an act of masculinity (Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. Öhman, 2007). This idea is further portrayed in tobacco advertising throughout Java, such as the ‘PRO Never Quit’ Ads which can be found on every street corner in Yogyakarta.
I asked Novaldy, what he thinks could be done to convince people of the dangers of smoking, and the need to quit as soon as possible to prevent illness. He believes that the best way to educate people about the need to quit, would be indirectly. Novaldy stated that in the past, riots and revolutions have started, against political figures and health ministers, due to their opinions on this issue. He suggests that this could be done by educating about alternative uses of tobacco, such as the natural dyeing of fabric, which produces around thirty shades (Fibre2Fashion, 2012). He also assumes that if tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships (TAPS) were banned, or at least regulated to only target adults (eg, tv commercials only allowed late at night), the prevalence of youth smoking would decrease.
Overall, Novaldy was able to provide me with insight regarding behavioural uses of tobacco and the extent to which, social events and cultural attitudes encourage smoking.
The following script was presented as a speech at the Greenhost Boutique Hotel, Yogyakarta for a Global Studio UTS subject, regarding tobacco control in Malioboro Street.
Diah and Toni are characters situated in our 2040 vision. All other characters are from the Malio Creative organisation created to find tobacco control solutions.
Diah :The year is 2040. The breeze is nice today in Jogja. I decided to ride my bike to Malioboro Street after a tiring day of work. I’m planning to meet up with my cousin Toni, to help him do his schoolwork. I like to hang at Malioboro as I feel that I can breathe fresh air, without being forced to passive smoke. I remember when I was growing up, things were so different. Everyone simply did as they pleased, no regard for the rules. The government has worked hard to ensure that public health is much more of a priority. Police are now patrolling the streets issuing fines for littering, and for smoking in prohibited zones. Today’s meeting with Toni is my opportunity to lecture him on the dangers of smoking. He is only 16 and is so easily influenced by his friends. It’s upsetting to see him smoke, considering I’ve dedicated my entire career to eliminating this issue.
Toni:Oh hey, I’m just riding my solar powered scooter to Malioboro Street to meet up with my cousin. It’s obvious she’s only making me go there since it’s a no smoking zone. It’s been that way my whole life, but lately it’s become much more strict, due to the large scale of tobacco control. It’s really hard, sometimes I can’t control my urge to just pull out a cigarette. I’ve smoked on the street before, but it felt extremely uncomfortable and socially unacceptable. I felt as though I was being judged. I learnt my lesson. I now only smoke in the allocated areas. Anyway, I’m meeting up with my cousin because shes a doctor and I want to give her my science project to complete. I can’t be bothered. I’m excited to see all the new interactive art installations while I’m there, I might also invite my friends.
Brandon: It’s good to be back, 2040 seems like a year of improvement and change. As Diah mentioned, there’s still plenty of issues and things to work on, but wow it has changed so much since I was last here in 2019 with my uni. I think it’s mainly because the government is committed to finding tobacco control solutions and has been working with vital strategies to ensure public health is a priority. I visited jalan Malioboro last night and the atmosphere was so pleasant. Without the hustle and bustle of traffic, the street is much more enjoyable. Take a look at some of the pics I took. The choice to make it a pedestrian area has allowed for bigger rest areas to be built and it’s so much more nicer to hang out with friends. I like that smoke isn’t constantly in your face. I’m surprised at the level of compliance with the smoking zones, it must be because of the patrolling police.
Good Afternoon, we are all from Malio Creative, an organisation dedicated to creating a more attractive, enjoyable and healthy Malioboro. In 2040, we found that Malioboro is a much cleaner and healthier environment for the public. It is one of the leading areas in smoking compliance in all of Indonesia. We have come to these conclusions through thorough research. Through backcasting we were able to understand how we got here.
We found that conducting primary on site research was extremely insightful and allowed us to gain an understanding of the rate of change and the movement of people within the area. Whilst in Malioboro we observed the public and produced the following data:
We went on a 10 minute walk on the street, and recorded how many people were smoking in smoke free zones. This helped us to identify the issue of non compliance with the regulation. In total 73 people were smoking on our 10 minute walk. The highest rates of smoking were in the Mall area and around Circle K. The common factor here is that both are places where people go to buy cigarettes.
We also conducted a test in front of the mall where we observed groups of people hanging out, both smokers and non smokers. As you, see the rate was much higher during the night time, as more people were out and about.
Furthermore, we created a mapping system which allows us to visualise our data in a way that can be tracked over a 20 year period. This map tracks the density and distribution of smokers/ non-smokers, density of advertisements as well as changes made in the area. The mapping system forecast changes in the variables mentioned above in 5 year intervals over a 20-year period. A key was created to symbolise each variable; green dots represent non-smokers, red for smokers and black dots for advertisements. In the 2019 map, results reveal more smokers than non-smokers in Malioboro and a trend to congregate outside of the mall and in areas with public benches or places to sit. Furthermore, it was noted that there was a high density of advertisements found unrelated to a corresponding shopfront located near the mall. These results show a strong correlation between advertising, rest areas and density of people partaking in smoking.
In 2025, we envision the distribution of rest areas to be more spread out. The saturation of advertisements is reduced and none of which are related to tobacco due to the enforcement of legislation. The street is permanently converted into a pedestrian only zone and is represented wider on the map as it becomes part of the 2019 pedestrian pathway. This is to ease footpath congestion and overcrowding.
In 2030, recycling bins are implemented into the town plan to help combat the severe problem of littering. Combined with many tobacco control campaigns and regulations, it can be seen that the rate of smoking in the area has rapidly decreased.
The year 2035 is a highly productive year in our timeline. A revamp of common resting spaces, some of which are strictly non-smoking, leads to a more evenly distributed population. This further eases congestion and density of passive smoking.
Finally, the map of 2040 suggests the success of reducing passive smoking and tobacco control in general. By 2040, tobacco legislations are enforced; there are rest areas for both smokers and non-smokers, recycling bins are introduced, pedestrian only zone, shaded areas and interactive art displays. This map exhibits the permanent art installations and the image on the left is an artistic impression of Malioboro art festival held every 35 days to encourage tourism and also provide a creative hub for locals.
We compared some images from 2019 and 2040 to showcase how far we’ve come and to analyse how the changes we’ve made to the space, have altered the way people interact. Using the data we collected, we implemented certain changes in Malioboro, to enhance the atmosphere and overall experience for the public.
From our findings, we noted that people did in fact want to be outdoors amongst others and thus, 2040 Jalan Malioboro has the perfect balance of shade and space. We decided to revamp the buildings by repainting peeling walls, fixing broken signs and conducting a general clean up. Steps were taken such as adding grass, planting more trees, implementing recycling programs and a permanent pedestrian pathway to achieve a more sustainable future. A bike rack has been included in order to encourage people to consider how their actions impact the environment when travelling.
Our hope was to persuade people to use the bus or ride a bike, in our aim to create a highly sustainable future. We envisioned Malioboro as a creative hub for expression, whilst not impacting culturally valued aspects of the space such as the traditional markets.
The street as a whole now serves as a common space for everyone to enjoy and shade can be found almost everywhere. We concluded that people use space tailored to their personal desires. Through spatial design we aim to influence how people behave and interact within the space. This has been achieved through creating specific smoking rest areas, as tobacco control solutions for the space.
Our aim is to promote a sustainable future where people are safe and their health is not affected by passive smoking. As you can see we have worked hard to find possible solutions and long term plans which can better Malioboro’s future. A lot has changed in 20 years but we’ve still got a long way to go.
4.Septirina, S. N., Takeo, O. &Satoru, K. 2016, ‘Conservation of Historical Architecture in Malioboro Street, Yogyakarta City, Indonesia’, Procedia -Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 225, pp. 259-269.
With aggressive tobacco advertising, bombarding the urban and rural environments of Indonesia; smoking rates are among the highest worldwide. Tobacco culture in Indonesia is immensely unhealthy, as 34% of the population are regular smokers. Nation-wide, 63% of men and 5% of women smoke daily (Tobacco Atlas). Over 225,700 Indonesians die annually of tobacco caused diseases. The lack of government regulated advertising bans are accountable for theses shocking statistics. The low public awareness of the manipulation carried out by the tobacco industry, will impact the lives of youth dramatically; as they are the target audience of current tobacco campaigns. Over 30% of Indonesian children have smoked cigarettes by the age of 10. The appalling tobacco culture in Indonesia is setting up the youth of the country, for a life of sickness caused by tobacco addiction from early childhood. The complacency of the government is a driving force for the lack of regulations against tobacco, due to the fact that Indonesia is one of the largest tobacco producers worldwide. The Indonesian government fails to see the long term effects and economic losses caused by cigarettes, instead prioritising annual economic gains.
Indonesia remains the only country in the Asia Pacific Region that has not yet signed or implemented the World Health Organisations ‘Framework Convention on Tobacco,’ as well as, not having implemented any bans on Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships (TAPS). Thus, Indonesian tobacco culture and the advertising industry around it, is a highly unrestricted and free environment. The nature of tobacco advertising nationwide is increasingly creative and somewhat, aggressive. The tobacco industry wishes to promote associations between smoking and emotional control, as well as masculinity, modernity and traditional values. With 88% of Indonesian smokers using clove-flavoured kreteks, this type of cigarette is marketed as an Indigenous Indonesian product, upholding an image of nationalism and traditional values. It is this kind of manipulation which the Indonesian people are victims of as the industry exploits traditional associations with tobacco, in order to gain consumers.
A 2017 study including 360 schools in 5 of the largest Indonesian cities, found that 54% of schools observed were surrounded by advertisements, and promotions showcasing discounts, competitions and sponsorships relating to tobacco (Astuti IS, 2017). This is a clear example of the industries aim to target youth and lure them into the world of tobacco addiction. Furthermore, tobacco culture in Yogyakarta is unavoidable, as advertisements ‘saturate the landscape’ (Nichter M, Padmawati S, Danardono M, 2009) with Kretek ads featured at every corner and on every billboard. Contrastingly, within a global context, most countries have banned tobacco advertising (such as Australia) since recognising the destructive impacts of smoking. The high exposure to TAPS alongside cheap and easily accessible cigarettes has resulted in high smoking rates amongst Indonesians (Astuti PAS, Freeman B, 2017). The devastating social and economic impacts of tobacco induced diseases can be easily prevented by implementing effective tobacco control policies and advertising bans.
Astuti IS, Freeman B, 2017, “It is merely a paper tiger.” Battle for increased tobacco advertising regulation in Indonesia: content analysis of news articles, viewed 22 November 2019 <https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/9/e016975>.
The problem of tobacco is one of the largest causes of death and disease Australia wide, killing 19,000 citizens per year (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019). It has been a goal of the Federal and State governments, to abolish this issue and to ensure that consumers are well informed of the extreme health concerns associated with tobacco; since the 1970s.
Smoking is not only known to cause cancer, but also, heart disease, strokes, renal and eye diseases and many respiratory conditions which can decrease the quality and quantity of life, for an individual significantly. There have been a range of campaigns implemented since 1973 to reduce the rates of smoking. These have led to policies such as taxation on tobacco products, banning of advertising and laws against smoking in certain areas, such as restaurants.
Tobacco culture in Australia has thus been impacted forever, as children are even taught about its negative impacts in school. The Australian government has taken all necessary measures to ensure that people are educated and not blind to the extreme consequences of the choice to smoke. Despite a broad range of regulatory measures which were in place to reduce tobacco use, the number of Australian smokers was still unacceptably high (The Department of Health, 2016).
Perhaps the most successful non-profit social change campaign, has been the ‘plain packaging’ initiative which has led to policy change in advertising and the design of cigarette packaging. The ‘Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011’ led to the removal of all branding, slogans and attractive designs and embellishments on tobacco packaging within Australia (Bayly M, Scollo M, 2017). It was the worlds first legislation to standardise tobacco packaging and was brought about as a response to the dangerous marketing of the tobacco industry which was highly successful through prestigious looking packaging with foiling and embossing, which was intended to provoke ideas that one brand was more superior to another. The packaging was the key promotional vehicle which provided the misleading advertisement of a product which was known to cause death.
As of 2012, all tobacco packaging would include clear and direct warnings which would increase in size from 30% of the box to 75% on the front, as well as 90% of the back of the box. These warnings included bold text, and disturbing images showing the long term effects of smoking. Using shock tactics to generate specific psychological responses was successful, as this appealed to consumer emotions by provoking thoughts about the individuals own future if they were to continue smoking. The name of the company was now only allowed to be displayed in a small generic font and positioning, so that no brand could be showcased as more superior and luxurious.
Before and After the Plain Packaging Act was implemented, (Hammond, 2017).
Although this initiative and policy was carried out through packaging changes, it was also supported by non-profit government authorised TV advertisements which brought the images on the packaging to life. These mass media campaigns showed cancer sufferers and amputees, displaying their shocking quality of life, due to their body’s inability to function as it should. They aimed to change social behaviour and affect decision making when it came to choosing whether or not to smoke.
Guidelines for The Plain Packaging Act 2011, (World Health Organisation, 2012).
The policy was successful in reducing the glamour and appeal of tobacco products, increasing knowledge of the effects of smoking, and promoting the Quitline. Within one year of the plain packaging initiative, 85% of smokers reported that they disliked the look of the packaging and it was not appealing to them. Attitudes changed in the 18-29 year old age bracket as 30% were convinced that the brands did not differ in quality. The number of Quitline calls in the first month increased by 78%, which led to countless smokers giving up their addiction due to the shocking warnings which they were forced to witness each time they reached for a cigarette (Medical Journal of Australia, 2014).
Overall, the campaign and policy brought about significant social/behavioural change due to a higher level of awareness into the long term impacts of tobacco use. The challenges associated with such a campaign, would be the commitment required to maintain the research process and monitoring of results. As well as the sustained effort required to create innovative solutions so that comprehensive approaches would be effective (Commonwealth of Australia, 2012). This policy is one which governments could easily implement worldwide, in particular, in Central Java, Indonesia, who would benefit from this policy in an attempt to provoke social and behavioural change though education of tobacco addiction rather than promoting the use of tobacco, allowing the industry to manipulate their people.
The Department of Health 2016, Post-Implementation Review Tobacco Plain Packaging 2016, Australian Government, Canberra.
Young, J. M, Stacey, I , Dobbins, T. A, Dunlop, S, Dessaix, A. L. and Currow, D. C. 2014, Association between tobacco plain packaging and Quitline calls: a population‐based, interrupted time‐series analysis, Medical Journal of Australia, Volume 200, Australasian Medical Publishing Company, Australia.