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


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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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