An Overview of Tobacco Control In Indonesia (ITCRN.ORG)

Indonesia has been experiencing an epidemic called tobacco, developing at an alarming rate. It is estimated that more than 60 million Indonesian are addictive smokers. Consequently, tobacco-related diseases have raised the death toll in Indonesia to nearly 250,000 people every year and approximately 100 million non-smokers are facing a high risk of transmission of respiratory diseases from tobacco smoke. The article was analyzed by Tam Minh Duong drugstore.

We believe those figures speak louder than words. According to the statistics from Badan Pusat Statistik, Tobacco ranked 2nd in the list of leading contributors to poverty in both rural and urban areas. Not to mention several fatal diseases such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke are closely related to smoking behaviors.

Despite the tobacco’s destructive aftermaths to human well-being and national development, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) hasn’t succeeded in finding a common voice with Indonesia to implement its policy.

The Birth of Indonesia Tobacco Control Network (ITCRN)

In an attempt to promote the ratification of the Convention, Indonesia Tobacco Control Network was established to expand research regarding tobacco control within the country.

Thanks to the collaboration between Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Demographic Institute of Indonesia, ITCRN has undergone impressive development through deploying research grant programs and organizing conferences for publishing research results.

Moreover, ITCRN has expanded its network globally by attracting talented researchers from prestigious universities to perform tobacco-related research in an effort to make its voice be heard in the policy-making process in Indonesia.

Current Policies Regarding Tobacco Control in Indonesia

Regulations and sanctions on cigarettes are enacted in the two primary national tobacco control laws, which are Law No. 36 of 2009 and Government Regulation No. 109 concerning Health. 

Due to recent law alterations, the Ministry of Health has been empowered in its work of packaging, manufacturing, and distributing cigarettes within Indonesia.

The followings are the major highlights of Indonesia’s current policies:

  • Strictly ban smoking on public transports, healthcare, and education facilities. Smokers are only allowed in smoke-designated areas.
  • Limit and govern the publicity of cigarettes on media channels.
  • Request a 40% depiction of health warnings on tobacco packages and labels.
  • Allow local regulations to be stricter than national laws in the matter of tobacco control.

WHO-supported Activities in The “Battle” of Curbing Tobacco Consumption in Indonesia

Surveillance and Monitoring

WHO, working closely with the Indonesia Tobacco Control Network, aims to support the Government of Indonesia in identifying specific strategies for tobacco control and implementing effective policies and regulations. 

Cigarette-related policies and legislation

Over the past few years, WHO has provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health regarding the policy-making process as follows:

  • Administer and impose heavy fines on misleading descriptions of tobacco harms.
  • Initiate supervision rules on cigarette products and promote health warnings through images
  • Prohibit all kinds of advertisements and promotions on tobacco
  • Enforce smoke-free regulations nationwide

Infrastructure and capacity improvements

WHO regards capacity building in Indonesia as one of the top priorities to gain control over the tobacco epidemic. 

The Ministry of Finance, consulted and supported by WHO, has performed decisive moves on tobacco taxation as well as enhanced health awareness in all sectors. 

Final words ITCRN

There is no doubt that Indonesia has made outstanding efforts in the reinforcement of tobacco control, starting with the establishment of ITCRN. However, the “battle” against tobacco has not yet ended, thus requiring the Indonesian Government not to rest on its laurels and continue obtaining remarkable achievements.

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