Indonesia has been one of the countries that consumes tobacco in the world. However, according to Schewe (2017), the smoking control system in Indonesia is not satisfactory compared with other countries. When I first arrived in Indonesia, I found that the youth smoking issue is quite Severe. During the trip in Indonesia, I realized that there are a large group of young people who are having smoking issues in rural Indonesia.
Youth smoking in Indonesia (Image: Farhan Perdana (Blek) from Flickr)
Through an interview with Ayu Cshya in the university of muhammadiyah in Yogyakarta, I gained a more thorough insight into youth smoking. After the interview, I concluded that the factors contributing to this phenomenon are multifaceted. One of the factors is that widespread tobacco advertising attracts attention from the youth. Their heavy exposure to tobacco advertising has made them think smoking is common. Another factor is that the government has been supporting tobacco companies due to the high governmental revenue from tobacco. The support from the government has made tobacco more accessible in Indonesia than in other countries where tobacco industry is restricted. Social factors also have important influence on the widespread youth smoking issues. Peer pressure among the youth, and parents’ and teachers’ role-model smoking encourage the youth to smoke. Ayu and I talked a lot about these factors contributing youth smoking, and it made me understand more about the this issue in Indonesia. Apart from these factors, I did some research on other possible factors. I found that smoking has had a long-standing tradition in Indonesia (Ayuningtyas, 2018). For this reason, smoking control is difficult to enforce in the country.
Based on the factors, Ayu told me his perspective about youth smoking control. He proposed that one of the effective measures is to advocate health lessons in schools which enable the youth to understand the risks they are taking while smoking. According to Martini et al. (2005), these lessons can be learnt in schools in science. This way can help to improve students’ awareness towards smoking. Another measure can be taken is for the government to set up some law items to prohibit youth smoking. Governmental support is of importance in solving youth smoking issues. Finally, he also mentioned that changing the traditional smoking concept is vital for the purpose of creating a non-smoking environment for the youth. If parents and teachers could pay more attention to the youth smoking and stop being smoking role models, the youth smoking rate is expected to decrease.
Ayuningtyas, K, 2018, In this tobacco village, smoking ‘kretek’ is rite of passage, The Jakarta Post, viewed 13 December, 2019, <https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/07/25/in-this-tobacco-village-smoking-kretek-is-rite-of-passage.html>.
Farhan Perdana, Blek, viewed 13 December, 2019, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/black_claw/18931630679/in/photolist-uQVyev-589N8o-7r1Xem-61vhy8-CoFMe-bsV6Vs-9URCM9-4qSe5L-amzRPb-9fbqAS-4Zo88R-pASzG4-zH8gu-a6swZW-3bYci1-bu2S5m-zGYfa-6BhCAE-tPnvx-8U4Wnd-pCy9CM-9zSqmn-qgdB2z-6egYJw-37uRna-8rV6Sg-jmUi1R-6FsEZY-gRFZzJ-6ndGAC-zGTfw-m42CXF-s5JMb-s5JLy-ztxsr-rcwUa4-rcwgS4-fFBM3s-drsFsJ-9nSkrC-7ANDkM-8zdUBk-oJiffk-7tRBVG-a6pGb4-TKT8-eJHCuN-4gf8b6-8qCgLq-5hV1EC>.
Martini, S., Sulistyowati, M. 2005, The Determinants of Smoking Behaviour among Teenages in East Java Province, Indonesia, viewed 13 December 2019, <https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/13781/347660IND0YouthSmoking0HNP0Tobacco032.pdf;sequence=1>>.
Schewe, E. 2017, Why Do So Many Indonesian Men Smoke?, JSTOR Daily, viewed 13 December, 2019, <https://daily.jstor.org/why-do-so-many-indonesian-men-smoke/>.