POST A: Finding new solutions

The special region of Yogyakarta is the home of Javanese fine art and culture with significant cultural and education centres. The advertising environment is described as “advertiser’s paradise”. (Nichter M, Padmawati S, Danardono M 2009). On our recent visit to Yogyakarta, it is relevant that they are proud local artists who fill the streets with beautifully handcrafted arts and street art.  

Tobacco advertising is a significant component in Yogyakarta, with a vast majority of advertising on banners, shop fronts, bus shelters, newspapers and Billboards. The tobacco companies are heavily involved with celebrations and events such as culture, sporting and music events with major international artists such as Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson. In 2008 Alicia Keys had responded to an antismoking group who pulled her out. Key’s said she was unaware of the tobacco endorsements and was unappreciative of it. “I am an unyielding advocate for the well-being of children around the world and do not condone or endorse smoking”. (Gina S 2008) Which was the ordered to be taken down, and all A Mild cigarettes advertisement on promotions to be removed.

Although in 2012, the Indonesian government adopted a tobacco control regulation which has limitations in advertising. (The conversation 2018) Most design activists in Indonesia are dealing with issues because of little awareness and understanding with the help of education awareness and health programs factors within the fields of art and design these issues could be achievable. 

On our recent visit speaking with Novaldy, he had assured us that trying to control tobacco is merely impossible in this country. Novaldy says “The best way to get through to people is not to tell them that tobacco isn’t good and is unhealthy. Because they will resist and a revolution will start again” The best source of outcome would be to try and find new solutions and ways in tobacco usages as it is one of the country’s most significant fields of growth. Smoking isn’t a habit; it is a cultural trend.  

There are alternative ways to use tobacco, working along side designers, scientist, and eco-design business creating alternative products such as clothing and natural dyes can be designed and created. Tyton Bieoenregy form North Carolina has been working on with tobacco as a source for biofuel and oil. Tyton says they have now figured out ways to use as jet fuel! (Dan Nosowits 2016) The plant is also inexpensive to grow and can be harvest up to three times a year with significant growth rates. Tobacco remains the largest non-food crop on Earth as more countries are kicking the cigarette habits and embracing healthier lifestyles and alternatives tobacco could reaffirm the leafy plant’s cash crop status in the future. (Emily Demarest 2015)

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Dan Nosowits 2016, Modern farmer: Amazing use for tobacco besides smoking it: Jet Fuel (Seriously) <>

(Emily Demarest 2015, Tyton Brings New Future to Tobacco as Sustainable Biofuel, online articall, viewed 20 December <>

Gina Serpe 2008, Alicia’s Smoking Promotions Hit Wrong Key, viewed 20 December <;

Nichter M, Padmawati S, Danardono M 2009, Reading culture from tobacco advertisements in Indonesia Tobacco Control, online journal, viewed 20 December  <>

The conversation 2018, Tobacco company in Indonesia skirts regulation, uses music concerts and social media for marketing, online article, viewed 20 December <;

POST C: Tobacco use and behaviour change

In my recent trip to Yogykarta I meet Luqman who works near the Green host hotel as a becak driver, 42-year male living in Yogyakarta. He Learnt English just from talking to clients and visitors. He moved to yoga when he was 15 to work and have money. He also works with an Australian company in Melbourne which imports Indonesian’s handcrafted materials.

Luqman had he’s first cigarette with his father, who smoked half a pack of cigarettes a day, he started smoking when at 14years old. He enjoyed the ‘relaxing and stress-free effects from smoking but one day he just decided to quit because it was ‘boring’. Five years ago Luqman had decided to quit, “I Didn’t like smoking, I only smoke because my friends smoke, but that is why I stopped”. In the Javanese’s culture It is quite common to start smoking from a young age, It is estimated around one million children smoke under the age of 16. (ABC 2011) “When you are younger, everyone smokes, we will hide in the bathrooms at school and smoke with all our friends.”  Luqman has also convinced he’s friends who now have quit smoking for 4years. “I gave him the inspiration, and now they have stopped”. Luqman is quite healthy, with no asthma and felt a lot healthier after he quit smoking.

In Yogyakarta it’s different, the people are open minded.

In Yogyakarta the only places you can’t smoke are shopping malls, healthcare facilities and public transport. (Tobacco control laws 2019), smoking in the streets seems to be no problem. Smoking while driving can cause many accidents because the ash can go into people’s eyes, pYLKI chairman Tulus Abadi said that at least 30,000 motorists die each year due to human error. (The Jakarta Post 2018)

Luqman says”I think at this moment the rules aren’t working, but I hope one day the rules will work” In Australia, there are set rules in place to make sure people are safe. The regulations in Australia work, but here we have a vast population 388,627 people in Yogyakarta alone (UN data 2019) One police must take care of 125 thousand people in one area. “It is not possible for one person to do everything.”

The Jakarta Post 2018, YLKI urges police to ban smoking while driving, viewed on 18 December, <;

Tobacco control laws 2019, legislation by country Indonesia, viewed on 18 December, <;

UN data 2019, Public data,  viewed on 18 December, <>

Interview with Nursing Students

When walking around Jogja 2 nursing students Naila and Elma asked to interview us on HIV for their university project. In return we asked them some questions about their opinions on tobacco in Indonesia. It was great to hear a nuanced perspective which was from a young person who understood youth culture, as well as well health students who were highly educated on tobaccos’ effects on the body.

When I asked Naila what her opinion was on smoking she gave me a lengthy and well educated reply. She talked about the way that cigarette smoke makes up a large portion of the air pollution in Indonesia. It is the most important indoor air pollutant (Mangunnegoro and Sutoyo 1996). She also stated that passive smoking is more dangerous than active smoking. This shocked me and was something I hadn’t heard before. When I did some research later this checked out and I found that the smoke which hasn’t passed through the filter of the cigarette has more harmful chemicals than the smoke that the active smoker is inhaling (Cleveland Clinic 2017). Naila also said that 90% of tuberculosis cases in Indonesia are caused from smoking.

We then went on to talk about why people smoke in Indonesia. I wanted to know if people knew the risks or not. She said that they usually do, however people like her father have trouble quitting because they are already deeply addicted. Elma then told me that it took a big scare with lung disease in her family for everyone to stop smoking. None of them smoke anymore, however it is a concerning truth that it may take many smokers a brush with death to realise the reality of the health effects of tobacco.

When speaking about child smoking Naila said that the main reason kids smoke is by association. They see family and peers smoking and because they haven’t been educated about the risks yet they try it out. She called teens ‘labil’ which translates to unstable. Teen brains are much more likely to take risks, especially when around peers (Bessant, 2008). Naila believed that it’s perceived as ‘cool’ to smoke and some kids feel left out if they refuse.

This interview shed light on some new facts I didn’t know about and solidified ideas we already had. Naila had some interesting facts about tobacco that she had learnt at university which we hadn’t heard before. As well as some important insight into youth tobacco culture.


Bessant, J. 2008. Hard wired for risk: Neurological science,‘the adolescent brain’and developmental theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3), pp.347-360.

Cleveland Clinic 2017, Second Hand Smoke Dangers, viewed 20 Dec 2019, <;

Mangunnegoro, H. and Sutoyo, D.K., 1996. Environmental and occupational lung diseases in Indonesia. Respirology1(2), pp.85-93.

Trichopoulos, D., Kalandidi, A., Sparros, L. and Macmahon, B., 1981. Lung cancer and passive smoking. International journal of cancer27(1), pp.1-4.

Post A: Exploiting Notions of Creativity and Empowerment

Recognised as one of Indonesia’s art hubs, Yogyakarta is home to over fifty art and cultural spaces (Bruhn 2015). With photography and film collectives, experimental music spaces, cultural studies centres and more, it is not difficult for artists (established or aspiring) to explore and find their ‘niche’ within this city. Alongside commercial success, these artists have the freedom to challenge authority in public spaces, but more importantly have the agency to create a gateway for social change.

“Working collectively in alternative spaces breeds a more organic understanding and attachment to a politics that challenges both capitalist and state orthodoxy” (Abbot, cited in Bruhn 2015).

However, it wasn’t always this way.

The DIY culture surrounding the art communities of Yogyakarta only arose from the 1990s amongst activists, sub-cultures and artists. In particular, a cultural activist organisation named Taring Padi was formed there in 1998 when the former president was overthrown by the student and people’s movement. Taring Padi fought for open democratic spaces in society, allowing art to be used as a tool for political expression and education for all (Taring Padi n.d.). To achieve this, they used live music as ‘artistic camouflage’ to spread their message and communicated to the people through big banners, performance art and their punk and rock ‘n’ roll lyrics (Indonesia Art Activism and Rock ‘n’ Roll 2002).

(Harmony gives strength: Weapons don’t overpower humanity, 1998)

As a cultural movement, ‘everything that we voice, all the yells that we holler we use a different form, that’s art’ (Indonesia Art Activism and Rock ‘n’ Roll 2002).

However, many tobacco companies are feeding into the arts scene, using tactics that allow themselves to be heavily rooted into Indonesian and Javanese youth and activist culture. The Indonesian tobacco company Sampoerna has linked itself as a sponsor to the concert series SoundrenAline.

SoundrenAline (The Beat 2019)

Line up for SoundrenAline with smoking warning (SoundrenAline 2019)

Its marketing activities have expanded into social media to influence the youth to associate smoking with music, creativity and self-expression. A clear example of this is their ‘Go Ahead Challenge’ which encouraged people to get involved in designing a limited edition A Mild cigarette package (Astuti, Assunta & Freeman 2018). The winner was a young Indonesian artist and his design features a red finger print, with the words ‘Go Ahead, be yourself & be brave!’ lining the interior packaging. This ‘creativity’ and ‘empowerment’ message was shared at the concert, along with the new limited-edition cigarette pack, and more than 65,000 Instagram posts marked with the A brand marketing hashtags were found (Astuti & Freeman 2018).

Considering the roots of design activism in Indonesia, and how it arose as an art movement for the people, this exploitation of idealised notions of creativity by the tobacco industry is far from fair. Thus, while it may be difficult to get governments to play a more dominant role in restricting tobacco advertising and sponsorship by enforcing already existing regulation, artists and creatives can utilise their practice and engagement with local communities to confront these contemporary concerns.

Stakeholder Map


Astuti, P.A.S., Assunta, M. & Freeman, B. 2018, ‘Raising generation ‘A’: a case study of millennial tobacco company marketing in Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 27, no. 1.

Astuti, P.A.S. & Freeman, B. 2018, ‘Tobacco company in Indonesia skirts regulation, uses music concerts and social media for marketing’, The Conversation, 31 July, viewed 22 December 2019, <;.

Bruhn, K. 2015, ‘Art and Social Engagement in Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Ketjilbergerak and the Legacy of Taring Padi’, Seismopolite, 29 December, viewed 22 December 2019, <;.

Indonesia Art Activism and Rock ‘n’ Roll 2002, Monograph, House of the Red Monkey, Indonesia.

Taring Padi n.d., About Taring Padi, viewed 22 December 2019, <;.


Post C: Football Sponsors and Tobacco

Football is the most popular sport in Indonesia. Everywhere you look, children are wearing football jerseys, and teenagers are playing football. Many cigarette brands sponsor professional teams, and game coverage. For example, Djarum, an Indonesian Kretek manufacturer sponsored the top football league from 2005-2011, to the tune of over 6.5 million dollars in 2011. (AFF, 2010).

Ega, 24, is in his last semester of college, where he studies economic management majoring in human resources. While he admitted to trying cigarettes as a teenager, he never pursued tobacco because his father does not smoke. “I follow my dad.” Ega is a keen football player and a die-hard Cristiano Ronaldo fan. “He is big, strong and compact, he can jump very high!” I asked him how he would react if Ronaldo took up smoking, and interestingly, unlike most of the young men that football sponsors target, Ega claimed that he would not be impressed. “Even if my idol smoked, I would not think cigarettes were cool.” 

Ega, 24, from Yogyakarta.

Although his friends encourage him to smoke, Ega chooses not to because he knows about the health detriments and “I know I can save a lot of my money if I don’t”. Ega dreams of visiting Times Square when he graduates, and it’s clear that his strong self-efficacy influenced by his parents, and high level of education, is what gives him the strength over his friends to not take up tobacco use. “An individual’s evaluation that they have the physical capacity (to avoid tobacco) will enhance evasion” (Elshatarat, 2016). 

Ega believes that due to tobacco’s strong relationship with the football scene, the sport is not as healthy and beneficial as it should be. About half of his team smoke, and spectators are allowed to smoke, even on the indoor courts. “They (the football association) know it’s bad, but want the profit. It’s evil in a way.” I expressed how different sponsorship is in western countries, and how our sportspeople encourage the youth not to smoke, until Ega reminded me that we might not be so different after all. “It’s just like Liverpool though, they promoted Carlsberg, that’s a beer!” Talking to Ega made me realise that tobacco isn’t the only problem, it’s the media and the way sponsorships and advertisements prioritise profit, no matter where they are in the world. He gave me hope though; his intelligence and personal strength is admirable and I can soon see people like Ega inspiring the younger generation.

Spot the difference: An Indonesian Football team’s jerseys, with tobacco company Dunhill printed across the front, vs English Premier League team Liverpool’s jerseys with sponsor Carlsberg Beer.


AFF 2010, DJARUM INCREASE ISL SPONSORSHIP TO USD4.5 MILLION, Asean Football Federation, Indonesia, viewed 21 December 2019, <>.

Elshatarat, R., Yacoub, M., Khraim, F., Saleh, Z., & Afaneh, T. (2016). Self-efficacy in treating tobacco use: A review article. Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare25(4), 243–248.

Post A: Influencing the #WrongDecision

Social media influencers have a particular responsibility to ensure they are endorsing what is ethical and moral, especially considering their vastly youthful and heavily impressionable audiences. Those who make the conscience decision to provide sustenance to the tobacco industry via social media enable its continuous growth, as online promotional material is becoming exponentially more effective.

Stakeholder Map

A recent study into the intensity of tobacco promotion behaviours revealed the frequent use of obscured use of images and hashtags, that may not directly advertise cigarettes (Astuti, P.A.S. et al 2019). Despite the recent crackdown efforts of Indonesia’s communications minister Johnny G. Plate to ‘cull cigarette advertising content on the internet’ (Silviana, C. Potkin, F. 2019), there remains an alarming amount of events catered to Indonesia’s youth, heavily sponsored by tobacco companies. One of Indonesia’s largest tobacco manufacturers Gudang Garam has cultivated ‘PROJAM’, which is a skateboarding and BMX event, with an Instagram following of 38.8k. Promoting exciting activities with messages such as the heroic way: #caraksatria and friendship: #temenanitu and featuring the unmistakable ‘PRO’ logo in almost every photo, surrounded by full of life and energetic scenarios. There is no doubt here of the companies clever infiltration to the youth of Indonesia through this online means. Instagram page with use of #temenanitu meaning friendship (, 2019)

Designers and creative culture makers, along with every other individual, can determine their own moral standpoint in support or disapproval of the tobacco industry and have the ability to utilise their stance and influence for the better or worse. Influencers can be an agent for change by being open and honest with their sponsorships, which can spark a chain reaction, and create opportunity for sincere discourse among tobacco companies, influencers and their audiences. The dangers of enticing the next generation of smokers through non-overt ads as seen below have only seen the beginnings, and it isn’t easy to predict how far this can be taken (Garcia, F. 2019).

Subtle cigarette ad. The brand wasn’t tagged nor mentioned in the Facebook post. (Amin, A. 2018)

Indonesia’s political stance is one of the most significant barriers for change amongst designers, creatives and stakeholders, as there are few restrictions on tobacco advertising in Indonesia, as the nation is yet to sign the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Bachelard, M. Stark, J. 2012). Meaning that no matter how hard designers alike try, the unwavering endeavours of the tobacco giants will remain. However, through the careful consideration of their intended audiences and how they react to different mediums, designers and creative culture makers located in Yogyakarta and surrounds, can work to spark positive change for the long term.


Amin, A. 2018, Have it all’, Facebook, 6 April, viewed 20th December 2019, <>&nbsp;

Astuti, P.A.S. Kurniasari, N.M.D, Mulyawan, K.H. Sebayang, S.K. Freeman, B. 2019, ‘From glass boxes to social media engagement: an audit of tobacco retail marketing in Indonesia’, Tobacco control, vol. 10, no. 11, pp. 1-8.

Bachelard, M. Stark, J. 2012, ‘In Indonesia, big tobacco hasn’t got a worry’, The Sydney morning herald, 26 August, viewed 20th December 2019, <>&nbsp;

Garcia, F. 2019, ‘How the tobacco industry targets young people with social media influencers’, Dazed, 13 February, viewed 20th December 2019, <>&nbsp;

Hurt, R.D. Ebbert, J.O. Achadi, A. Croghan, I.T. 2011, ‘Roadmap to a tobacco epidemic: transnational tobacco companies invade Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 306-312.

McCormack, A. 2018, ‘Big tobacco are using Instagram influencers to advertise cigarettes, advocates warn’, ABC triple j hack, 3 September, viewed 20th December 2019, <;, 2018, ‘Collision’, Instagram, 29 March, viewed 20th December 2019, <>&nbsp;

Silviana, C. Potkin, F. 2019, ‘Indonesia cracks down on online tobacco ads to deter young smokers’, Reuters, 14 June, viewed 20th December 2019, <;

Witabora, J. Adidharma, K.S. Luzar, L.C. Meilani, M. Soedarso, N. 2016, ‘Usability, design, and content issues of mobile apps for Indonesia cultural art promotion: A Balinese mask’,  Humanoira, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 427-439.

Post C: Smoking on Campus

When researching how to change the smoking mindset of the Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta campus, no information was more important than the perspective of students currently experiencing campus life.

I sat down with Chilmi, a 26 year old student studying international studies for his second time after exchanging to Germany and restarting his degree in Indonesia. Because of this, Chilmi had the interesting perspective with both German and Indonesian schooling experience. Chilmi stated that he does not and never had been a smoker, which surprised me given he was the only student out of the many I had asked who was not a smoker.

When asked if his socialising was affected by his not smoking, Chilmi stated that it was often difficult when all his friends gather to smoke and he feels like an “outsider”. He said this was especially difficult in his younger years, which isn’t surprising as research suggests that smoking increases dramatically between the ages of 11 and 17, from 8.2% to 38.7% (Smet, Maes, De Clerca, Haryanti, Winarno 1999). He was raised in a family of male smokers with both his father and brother smoking when he was younger. Although students are aware of the penalties for smoking on campus, Chilmi did not believe that either the non-smoking signs, nor the reminders students receive from lecturers were effective enough in convincing students to stop. 

Photo of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta campus no smoking sign

As part of our group design product I researched the differing sociodemographic factors that can effect and change the determination of mindsets, summarised as education, experience and prejudice. I brought this into the conversation asking if these summarised categories sounded correct in changing ones perception of tobacco around campus. Chilmi responded positively stating that education and experience heavily influenced his decision not to smoke. He also discussed how further introducing other socialising experiences around campus could help in lowering the amount of smokers; having a slow progression into different social experiences as a way of replacing social smoking. 

A person’s values guide their everyday life and decision making. Quality changes through teachers, employees and educational institutions could be most effective therefore when changing the mindset. This can be divided into two parts, ‘the formulation of the mindset and the communication of the mindset’ (Yuliana 2018). The formulation of a mindset can be changed through trend watching, envisioning and formulation of paradigms. Whilst the communication of the mindset that has been formulated can be changed through both personal behaviour and operational behaviour. (Machali, Hidayat 2016). 

Chilmi helped me understand this, as what he experiences through his friends and his own personal reasoning for not smoking can be summarised under his minds formulation and communication.


Machali, I., & Hidayat, A. 2016, The Handbook of Education Management, Jakarta, Kencana Prenada Media.

Yuliana, A. 2018, ‘Total Quality Educational Mindset Formation at Muhammadiyah Elementary School Kleco Yogyakarta’, Tadris: Jurnal Keguruan dan Ilmu Tarbiyah, vol. 3, pp. 1-67.

Smet, B. Maes, L. De Clerca, L. Haryanti, K. Winarno, R.D. 1999, ‘Determinants of smoking behaviour among adolescents in Semarang, Indonesia’, Tobacco Control, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 186-191.