Indonesia is one of the countries with the highest smoking rate in the world. The smell of diced cigarettes is the taste of the Indonesian country (doyle 2013). Although the government has repeatedly emphasized that people quit smoking, it has no significant effect. Because smoking has become a special culture in Indonesia, the number of smokers is increasing. When I was in Yogyakarta, I always saw someone carrying a box on the road, filled with cigarettes. Out of curiosity, I asked the owner, Mohammed, some questions. He also answered many of my questions and explained the impact of this industry in Indonesia.
Mohammed, a seller of cigarettes, knows the importance of tobacco to Indonesians. The Indonesian tobacco industry is a vibrant and growing market. New and innovative products are launched regularly. But the Indonesian tobacco industry is also inevitably affected by domestic mechanisms and international anti-tobacco activities or legislation and excise taxes. The industry is facing many pressures, including slow legislation and restrictions.
This year, under the influence of anti-smoking lobbyists, the government launched a series of anti-smoking measures, including restricting smoking shots in local films. The film community responded to the protest by stating that the legislation encourages censorship before and after production and denies that they have a certain degree of artistic freedom. But the government has ratified the legislation and it is now law. Non-governmental organizations require that smoking lenses are not allowed at all and are intended to limit the display of products. The ban applies to all movies made in Indonesia, not just movies that are allowed to be viewed by minors. The law also stipulates that 60% of cinemas should show Indonesian films. “Everywhere, pressure groups try to influence legislation”. (Muhaimin Moeftie 2017) The proposal to amend the Health Act is a challenge for the tobacco industry. But Mohammed thinks this is a good start.
Mohammed told me that his life was not rich, so he had to make a living selling cigarettes. Although he sells cigarettes, he does not want Indonesians to rely on nicotine for a long time. When he sees some minors buying cigarettes from him, he will not sell them. I think this is a rare example. A World Health Organization survey in September this year found that the number of young children smoking had increased seven-fold in less than a decade. One in four teenagers in India smoke regularly. (Gabrielle2016)
Mohammed tells me that the most effective way to stop smoking among young people is that the government vigorously declares the dangers of smoking and takes corresponding measures, which is urgent. All he can do is not sell cigarettes to minors.
All in all, Mohammed let me know more about the tobacco situation in Indonesia, and he made me understand that we must urgently control the fact of tobacco control.
Doyle 2013,Tobacco in Indonesia: “the defining characteristics for success”, viewed on 19 Dec 2019.
Muhaimin Moeftie 2017,Indonesian white cigarette manufacturing, viewed on 19 Dec 2019http://www.etmoc.com/world/Newslist?Id=14368
Gabrielle 2016,World Health Organization survey report, viewed on 19 Dec 2019.