Post C: Small steps for change

Almost all the Indonesian population are stakeholders of the tobacco industry, whether they wish to be or not. They may actively use tobacco products or have never been inclined to, but their decisions within a tobacco saturated environment will inevitably affect the industry as well as themselves. Conducting interviews with resident within Surabaya was one of the most effective methods to understand the perception and attitudes towards tobacco products and to grasp how heavily ingrained they are into everyday Indonesian life.  Most interviews conducted where with students from UNAIR (Airlangga University), these student study public health and are deeply invested in the management and reduction of tobacco culture in Indonesia.

These students had a wealth of knowledge on the culture of tobacco smoking within Indonesia and the key factors that add to this culture.  Many of the students highlighted the fact that there is little formal education about the negative repercussions of smoking, rather they receive information from cigarette packages and ads on the negative side effects.  Never the less the students I spoke to also believed that their decision to not smoke was directly correlated to education within the home and community and within schools. Many of the student parents are against smoking and encourage their children to avoid it.  With a mean age of initiation into daily smoking at 17.6 and a population of 23 million between the ages of 13 – 17 (WHO), highlighting the importance of educational systems in the early intervention of tobacco consumption.

Unair 1Figure 1: Meeting with UNAIR students

The UNAIR students have participate in and run several anti-smoking and awareness campaigns within Surabaya. Perhaps one of their most effective initiatives begin the smoke free communities. The communities have signage asking individuals not to smoke in these areas, additionally motorbike is to be switched off and walked through the area. The idea behind these communities is to develop a safe space for people to live without the impact of tobacco products. Minimising the exposure of youth to tobacco smoke and advertisement is another contributor to the success of the communities. When talking the UNAIR students about tobacco control there was an underlying theme of helplessness due to the Indonesia economic dependency on the tobacco industry as well as the lack of government involvement in helping to reduce consumption. But they remain hopeful as there are signs of change. Particularly when referring to these smoke free communities, as they believe that making small incremental change can have a much larger effect on the perception and participation with tobacco culture.

UNAIRFigure 2: UNAIR students participating in anti-smoking initiative

References, 2018, Viewed 18 Dec 2018, <>

Inside Indonesia, 2018, Forbidden smoke – Inside Indonesia, Viewed 18 Dec 2018 <>

Smet, B., Maes, L., De Clercq, L., Haryan􀆟, K., & Winarno, R. D. (n.d.). Determinants of smoking behaviour among adolescents in Semarang, Indonesia. Viewed 18 Dec 2018 <>



Post A: Alcohol and Tobacco

There are different activities can develop to cultural norms that in countries through years of tradition and participation by individuals the population. Indonesia is a country with one of the highest prevalence of smoking with 64% of males smoking and has developed a significant culture and identity around tobacco related products. As well as it is supporting the economy within the country. Similarly, Australia has established a significant alcohol-based culture an identity that is embedded in most social activities and situations. Australian drinking culture much like Indonesian smoking culture permeates a range of areas in everyday life; social, workplace, sporting, tv/advertising and family.

The cultural insignificance within these countries relates heavily to the social aspect that coincides with the consumption of these products. In Australia most, social situations coincide with alcohol consumption; its used as a celebration, a form or relaxation and a way to connect with new or old friends, to build relationships. An idea which is communicated through advertising and branding of the companies. The harmful drinking culture within Australia is normalised through the contributions of alcohol advertising. Figure one is just one example of the subliminal messages hidden within the advertisements.

VB ad

Figure 1:

There is a prominent industry which is built around the prevalence of this culture, pubs, clubs and bars make up a vast majority of income within the hospitality industry. The alcohol and beverage industry employees a total of around 400,000 people, with a total economic contribution of 19 billion and a further 5 billion in tax (according to the Alcoholic beverages Australia). These figures highlight drinking as more than just an activity that the population participates in. Rather it is a part of a much bigger industry which contributes heavily to the economic stability of the country.

Economic dependence on an industry can be seen in Australia to an extent, this can also be seen with companies desire to keep the developed culture alive. This economic dependence is astronomic within Indonesia when speaking about the Tobacco industry. the industry makes up a significant portion of the countries income, which is reflective in the lack of anti-smoking legislation and enforcement as well as the prevalence of cigarette advertising. As a designer the subliminal message which are delivered to venerable or impressionable individuals are clear (figure 2). Additionally, as a practising designer there is a responsibility which exists when creating images and experiences which target these vulnerable groups. Ideally one would use design as a tool to incite change within a harmful culture rather than contributing to an ingrained issue.

mal ad

Figure 2:


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018, Alcohol Overview – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Viewed 18 Dec. 2018 <>, 2018, Viewed 18 Dec 2018 <>

Ahsan. A, Adioetomo. S, Barber. S, Setyonaluri. D. 2008. Tobacco Economics in Indonesia. Bloomberg Philanthopies, Viewed 18 Dec 2018

Post D: An Ingrained Culture

Smoking and the tobacco industry are heavily ingrained within Indonesian culture and have a significant impact on most of the population.  For many of the group this walking tour, led by the esteemed walker Anitha Silvia, was our first introduction to the local culture and tobacco culture within Surabaya. led by the esteemed walker, Anitha Silvia. Initially, we were taken through one of Surabaya’s many streets markets a market filled with a diverse range of people and produce, adjacent to House of Sampoerna. We tasted some local fruit and interacted with our 3 knowledgeable guides. Our next stop was The House of Sampoerna, a tobacco museum and factory of the biggest tobacco company in Indonesia. It was here that the sheer scale of the industry was first realised. Sampoerna Is a company that spans generations and provides the most popular cigarettes in Indonesia. Their traditional cigarettes allow them to corner 33% of the market within Indonesia with revenues of RP 99 trillion in 2017 (GmbH, 2018) This consistent strength reinforces the hold that the company has on the smokers of Indonesia. A hold that would be seen throughout the rest of the tour.

cig(Houseofsampoerna, 2018)

On the remainder of the tour, we visited various sights around northern Surabaya; temples, banks, coffee shops, markets, and public areas. The sights stretched across the three major areas: European, Chinese and Arab Quarter. In our exploration key insights into the nature of tobacco consumption in northern Surabaya where identified. One of these insights being the degree to which smoking is a social activity.  Warkop Sarkam, a coffee shop located within the Arab district is a prime example of a location that facilitates the social side of smoking (see figure 1). The shop consisted of older men conversing over cheap coffee and cigarettes making up most of their day. Highlighting that the primary source of social interaction amongst many men revolves around the shared consumption of tobacco products.

warkop(Warkop-sarkam, 2018)

Another significant insight made relates to the prevalence of passive and non-passive smoking in the workforce. Once again sights such as Warkop Sarkam and the Pabean Fish Markets, display recurring instances of smoking culture. In the case of stores such as Warkop Sarkam there are no laws in place that specifically protect its workers from the devastating effect of passive smoking. Additionally, in areas such as the Pabean Fish Markets, it not uncommon to see workers smoking freely whilst selling produce and performing various other activities. Once again reiterating the prevalence of smoking in all aspects of Indonesian life.

This tour of northern Surabaya was a dynamic and interesting way of uncovering many of its social nuances. Particularly in relation to the population’s smoking habits/traditions and the role they play in developing the smoking culture that forms a significant portion of Indonesian history.

2018 UCD Week 3 Research Question

References, 2018, House of Sampoerna, viewed 6 December 2018, <>

GmbH, f. 2018,, viewed 6 December 2018, <>

Image 1:, 2018, House of Sampoerna, viewed 6 December 2018, <>

Image 2:, 2018, viewed 6 December 2018, <>


POST B: Australia’s plain packaging

Within the world health organizations (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), there are six key components that provide guidelines for governments/organisations when approaching Tobacco control. These components include; Monitor the use and prevention policies, protect people from tobacco smoke, offer help to quit tobacco use, warn about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and raise taxes on tobacco. The Australian government heavily involved in the development of the FCTC guidelines, thus Australia became one of the first countries to implement plain packaging measures in 2012. These measure ‘act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.’ (Article 5.3, FCTC)

‘Our business is not about persuading people to smoke; it is about offering quality brands to adults who have already taken the decision to smoke.’ British American Tobacco Australia website 2011

The introduction of plain packaging is one of the simplest but more effective methods to combat the number of new smokers and number in general. It is a particularly effective method of reducing participation by underaged or younger smokers, reducing the appeal that coincides with aesthetic packaging and brand recognition whilst also increasing the effectiveness of health warnings.


Figure 1: NewsComAu 2018, Tobacco giants vow to keep fighting, Viewed 26 Nov 2018, <>

Dr Tasneem Chipty, of Analysis Group, conducted research into the discernible effect that plain packaging has on the prevalence of smoking within Australia. The research found that between the years 2012 and 2015 the plain packaging campaign was responsible for a quarter of the total drop in smoking prevalence, resulting in around 100,000 fewer smokers. The immediate effect of this initiative is seen within these numbers, highlighting the impact of cigarette advertisement and branding in the past and its impact on new and established smokers.

However, there are limitations of this initiative relating to its longevity, as many smokers and non-smokers alike have become desensitised to the packaging due to prolonged exposure. the fact that these forms of packaging have been normalized by smokers and non-smokers alike creates an opportunity for the introduction of new and more effective forms of preventative packaging.   As an initiative, I believe that it was an important and successful step towards solving an issue that is much greater. An issue that is heavily ingrained into many modern cultures and that should be approached from all angles consistently to achieve substantial change.


Tobacco in Australia 2016, 1.1 A brief history of tobacco smoking in Australia – Tobacco In Australia,  viewed 25 November 2018, <> 2018, Department of Health | Tobacco control timeline, Viewed 26 Nov. 2018,<>

World Health Organization 2018, MPOWER, Viewed 29 Nov 2018, <> 2018, Department of Health | Evaluation of tobacco plain packaging in Australia, Viewed 29 Nov. 2018, <>

Figure 1: NewsComAu 2018, Tobacco giants vow to keep fighting, Viewed 26 Nov 2018, <>