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Protecting Our Children – Editorial




Editorial Board (The Jakarta Post)

Fri, October 1, 2021

cigarette, billboard, advertisement, jakarta, children, ban, protection, anies-baswedan, joko-widodo, regulation, addiction
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Indonesia is so well known for its lax tobacco regulations that it has earned the nickname “Disneyland for Big Tobacco”. It has long refused to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), making it the only country in Asia to allow direct advertising for cigarettes.

It’s no surprise, then, that Indonesia is one of the largest tobacco markets in the world, with 33.8% of its population aged 15 and over being addicted to nicotine.

A 2018 Ministry of Health survey found that the proportion of new smokers among children aged 10-18 rose to 9.1% from 7.1% in 2013. The latest surveys from Statistics Indonesia (BPS) however, surprisingly showed that this figure stood at 3.87% and 3.81% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Questions have been raised as to whether the results of the surveys carried out by the two institutions are comparable.

Indonesian children are still exposed to cigarette advertisements, given the absence of strict tobacco control policies at the national level. We therefore welcome Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s call for the removal of cigarette advertisements in the city, including telling retailers to no longer display cigarette products on their shelves.

The appeal was based on a 2014 regional regulation signed by then governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the 2015 governor’s regulation signed by then governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on the ban on cigarette advertisements in certain places. The regulations are intended to protect children from exposure to advertisements.

The Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) has removed advertisements for cigarettes and has told mini markets and malls to hide their tobacco products since September 13. display so far.

Anies’ decision has sparked protests from the tobacco industry and retailers who are already struggling to survive a series of mobility restrictions imposed by the government to control the coronavirus pandemic. They argue that the governor’s decision to ban retailers from displaying cigarette products gives the impression that tobacco is an illegal commodity.

There is no doubt that many people depend on the tobacco industry in Indonesia, including some of the wealthiest people in the country. But the country’s future depends on a healthy generation free from the health dangers of nicotine.

Studies have shown that tobacco addiction could jeopardize the potential demographic bonus that the country is expected to reap between 2030 and 2040. A series of policies aimed at limiting the influence of tobacco advertising on children are therefore needed. to ensure that the promise of this demographic bonus does not turn into disaster.

Anies, Ahok, and Jokowi can be broadly seen as political rivals who take different approaches to solving many of the city’s problems, but they are at least on the same page when it comes to formulating policy. protection of children against nicotine.

This is one of the critical questions on which we should all agree.




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