POST A: Designers and advertisements play important role in tobacco industry

Tobacco companies have enormous political and financial influence in Indonesia and are the third-largest source of revenue for the government (Reynolds, 1999). So, in Indonesia, tobacco companies have few policy restrictions. The number of young Indonesians is growing in recent years, with more than 45% Indonesians are under the age of 20. So, tobacco companies began to encourage young people to smoke by advertising and sponsoring large events. Designers and creative culture makers, such as artists, social media influencers or entrepreneurs, play a vital promotional role. They design the brand culture, packaging and advertising of cigarettes and spread them on social media and the Internet. As the second-largest Indonesian tobacco company, Sampoerna, rice: “The relevance to the consumer of a brand’s image and lifestyle will be the defining characteristic for success in the years to come.” (Reynolds, 1999) Designers associate cigarettes with lifestyle and personal characteristic, for example, strong masculinity and individuality are the predominant themes of cigarette advertising in Indonesia. And some ads, using highly successful men as examples, suggest that people can use cigarettes to attract women and become rich. Those tobacco advertisements deliver very misleading content – smoking means success, charming, courage, and popularity. These contents have great appeal to children and teenagers. Therefore, Advertising has had a very real impact on increasing the number of Indonesian smokers. Especially among young people, they are very concerned about their identity, so they are identified as the main contributors to the future profits of Indonesian tobacco companies.

An advertisement for Gudang Garam: “Kreteknya lelaki” (“The man’s cigarette”).

Because of the huge profits that advertising can bring, tobacco companies are putting more emphasis on investing in designers and producers of creative cultures. Cigarette companies sponsor almost all of the country’s concerts and sports events. (Dhumieres, 2019) All major Indonesian tobacco companies sponsor sporting events. (Reynolds, 1999) Tobacco billboards are prominently displayed and frequently changed in Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta government directly gets many benefits from cigarette revenues and the “social contribution” provided by the tobacco industry. Most of the small newsstands and shops in Yogyakarta are covered in tobacco advertising because tobacco companies offer cash payments and artwork to small shop owners. (Nichter et al., 2008) At the same time, cigarette companies sponsor many design companies and cultural and sports activities to obtain the support of designers and artists.

In Indonesia, it is difficult for designers and creatives to get financial assistance from the government or private sponsorship. However, tobacco companies serve them by controlling the design industry economically. But there is no denying that designers and creatives play a vital role in the spread of information on social media and the web. If the government can support designers, let them participate in anti-tobacco activities, I believe it can achieve good results.

Diagram of connection


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

Nichter, M., Padmawati, S., Danardono, M., Ng, N., Prabandari, Y. and Nichter, M. 2008, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia, Tobacco Control, vol 18, no 2, pp.98-107,.REYNOLDS, C. 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, Tobacco Control, vol 8, no 1, pp.85-88,.

Reynolds, C. 1999, Tobacco advertising in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, Tobacco Control, vol 8, no 1, pp.85-88,.

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, <;.

Post D: Do not let your children play in the “Tobacco Industry’s Disneyland”.

Indonesia is facing very serious tobacco problem. With a population of 260 million, Indonesia has become the biggest economy in South-East Asia. However, more than 225700 people were killed by tobacco-caused disease every year. And more than 469000 children (10-14 years old) and 64027000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day. (Indonesia – Tobacco Atlas, 2019) What is most striking is the growing prevalence of smoking among children. By age 10, 20% had tried smoking, and by age 13, the figure was closer to 90%. (Tjandra, 2018)

Indonesia or is the only country in Asia that has not signed and ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC). Indonesia is the World’s second largest Tobacco market, tobacco industry has annual sales of more than $21 billion, accounted for 10% of all taxes, It also provides jobs for 2.5 million workers in agriculture and manufacturing. (Tjandra, 2018) There is no doubt that tobacco is a very important industry that supporting Indonesia’s finances, so tobacco companies have significant political and economic influence in Indonesia. This became an important reason for its failure to join FCTC.

And it brings a very serious problem for Indonesia — children smoking. FCTC convention includes: broad ban on tobacco advertising, higher prices and taxes, the printing of health warning labels on tobacco products, and measures to prevent people from accepting passive tobacco in addition to other tobacco control strategies. (World Health Organization, 2019) However, Indonesia is not bound by these provisions. It means in Indonesia, people can see tobacco advertisements everywhere and teenagers can smoke without restraint. This has given Indonesia the ironic nickname——”Tobacco Industry’s Disneyland”. Indonesia is the only country in south-east Asia that allows tobacco advertising. These tobacco companies say they are not targeting for young people who are under the age of 18, and limit their ads to between 9.30pm and 5am to avoid contact with children. (Indonesia Details | Tobacco Control Laws, 2019)

However, teenagers can still easily see those advertisements through many channels, such as roadside shops and restaurants, concerts, sports events and the Internet. Cigarette companies sponsor almost all the country’s concerts and sports events. (Dhumieres, 2019) Those tobacco advertisements deliver very misleading content — smoking means success, charming, courage and popularity. These contents have great appeal to children and teenagers.

Dihan, 6, has cut down to just four cigarettes a day from his usual two packs a day. And his parents are proud. (Clea Broadhurst)

Other reasons for childhood smoking are the prevalence of adult smoking and poor government regulation. Adult attraction has a serious effect on their children. In Indonesian families, parents do not avoid their children when they are smoking, and sometimes they even use cigarettes as a reward. Because cigarettes are very cheap in Indonesia. A pack of 20 Marlboros costs $1.55. In Australia, a pack of regular cigarettes costs about $20. (Tjandra, 2018) The cheap cigarettes became a source of comfort for many families. On the other hand, the government has little control over children’s smoking. Although the government banned the sale of cigarettes to minors, the law was never enforced. Teenagers can easily buy cigarettes and cigarettes from supermarkets. Some cigarette companies even distribute free cigarettes to children and teenagers at sponsored events. Prabandari and Dewi made a survey in some high schools in Yogyakarta. According to their study (2016) found that ‘cigarette advertising and incense messages indeed are targeted at char and their Perception was strongly associated with smoking status. Regulations to ban TAPS in order to prevent sanctions from smoking should be applied rapidly in Indonesia. ‘

As Jakarta Reuters said (2019), Indonesia will raise the minimum price of cigarettes by more than a third from January next year, a finance ministry spokesman said on Friday, As part of the government’s efforts to reduce smoking rates. Indonesia still has the lowest cigarette tax in the world. Rising the prices could lead consumers to switch to cheaper cigarette brands, where illegal cigarettes are still easily got in Indonesia. The government must strike a balance between cigarette companies and ordinary people, including promoting health, generating income, employment and supporting local small and medium-sized industries. (Negara, 2019) In this way, the government will not be controlled by cigarette companies and compensate ordinary workers who lose their jobs.

The proliferation of cigarettes is a very terrible phenomenon. Cigarettes are rotting away in Indonesia, so protecting the next generation is the most important problem we need to face. We must avoid our children from the ‘good’ world of cigarettes shows, avoid them from physical and mental destruction which cigarettes caused. We should let our kids have fun at the real Disneyland, not die in the ‘Tobacco Industry’s Disneyland.’

Hand-drawn Map, Bingjie


Dhumieres, M. 2019, The number of children smoking in Indonesia is getting out of control, Public Radio International. viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Indonesia Details | Tobacco Control Laws 2019, viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Indonesia – Tobacco Atlas 2019, viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Jakarta Reuters 2019, Indonesia to raise cigarette prices by more than a third at start of 2020, U.S. viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Negara, S. 2019, Commentary: The power of Big Tobacco and Indonesia’s massive smoking problem, CNA. viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Prabandari, Y. and Dewi, A. 2016, How do Indonesian youth perceive cigarette advertising? A cross-sectional study among Indonesian high school students, Taylor & Francis. viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

Tjandra, N. 2018, ‘Disneyland for Big Tobacco’: how Indonesia’s lax smoking laws are helping next generation to get hooked, The Conversation. viewed 24 November 2019, <>.

World Health Organization 2019, World Health Organization. viewed 27 November 2019, <>.

POST B-Consider about how does tobacco tax influence people in Australia

Excise taxes and duties on tobacco have been increased by 25 % since April 30, 2010. From 2013 to 2017, tobacco taxes increased 12.5 % each year. Four annual excise and customs duty increases were scheduled from 2013-17, 20, 21 followed by a further Four 12.5% annual increases to the year 2020. (Tobaccoinaustralia, 2019) A pack of regular cigarettes will cost up to $40, and duty-free cigarette allowance to be cut from 50 to 25.

It is certain that the increase in the cost of tobacco will reduce the consumption of tobacco and the number of smokers. Australian government reduces the purchasing power of smokers by imposing high taxes on tobacco products. Taxes need to rise periodically to adjust for inflation and consumer purchasing power. (WHO, 2019) So, the tobacco excise rate is indexed based on average weekly ordinary-time earnings (AWOTE). It will defend people from paying easier for tobacco due to the increase in wages. (NSW HEALTH, 2019)

Daily Smokers in Australia 18y+, Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association, 2018

The World Health Organization says that “raising tobacco prices through higher taxes is the most effective way to encourage tobacco users to quit and prevent children from starting smoking.” (WHO, 2019) The policy has made some success in Australia. Since the government raised the tax on tobacco by 25% in 2010, tobacco consumption has fallen by 11%. Since 2013, when the tax on tobacco was increased year by year, about 210,000 Australians have withdrawn from the tobacco market. (Acosh, 2019) Raising tobacco tax is a relatively mild measure, which is easy to be accepted by the public and smokers.

Australia has the highest tobacco prices in the world currently.

The Price of a Pack of Cigarettes around the World, Katharina, 2019

When I first came to Australia, I was very surprised for the price of cigarettes. Because a pack of cigarettes is very cheap in China. In China, the cheapest cigarettes cost only ¥5, nearly $1 Australian dollar. However, in Australia, the cheapest cigarettes cost nearly $20. The highest cigarette prices did help for Tobacco Control, but it still has some problems.

One of the problems is the decline of smoker rate has become slow. According to AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019), from 2013 to 2016, The percentage of daily smokers decreased very slightly, only from 12.8% to 12.2%. “This is a consistent trend for daily smokers aged 18 or older (AIHW 2017a). Between 2013 and 2016, there was a significant decrease in the daily amount of smoking among adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 19. (AIHW, 2017a) However, this policy did not work through smokers with many years of smoking experience. As the data showed in the chart, smoking rates among people aged 30 and over have barely improved or even recovered. Tobacco is highly addictive. It is very difficult for those who smoking for a long time to give up smoking due to the high price.

Source: NDSHS 2016 preliminary findings , AIHW, 2017a

According to Hirono and Smith (2018), another issue is Equity concerns surrounding high tobacco taxes. The highly increase of tobacco tax may have a particularly high impact on vulnerable communities with lower incomes. But for those who do not quit smoking, it will has some negative impact on their economies (having less income available to spend on basic needs) and social (the increased sense of stigma associated with smoking).

Australia’s tobacco tax shows a successful and acceptable policy. But we can also find that people still need some stronger policies to change their dependence on tobacco from this research. The government should not only change the smokers, but also the whole society’s cognition and view of tobacco. How to get rid of the dependence and control of tobacco will be a difficult problem for every government. If I will design a tobacco control intervention or campaign for Central Java, as while as raising the tobacco tax, I will also strengthen the negative publicity of tobacco on social media to warn people about the harm of tobacco. The most important part is that government will organize free physical examination for smokers, so that they can feel the bad influence and effects of smoking on the body intuitively.


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