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Indonesian Minister commits to support tobacco control initiatives

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On Wednesday 30 December, Union Grantee, the Indonesian Children Protection Agency (LPAI), met virtually with the Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture, Dr Muhadjir Effendi, to discuss the urgent need for stronger tobacco control policy in Indonesia. The meeting was attended by Kak Seto Mulyadi, Chair of LPAI, Kak Heni, Secretary-General of LPAI, Lily S. Sulistyowati from The Union and Deni W. Kurniawan from The Union. 

Based on discussions with several ministers (including the Minister of Social Affairs, the Minister of Women Empowerment and Children Protection, and the Minister of Information and Communication), Dr Seto Mulyadi expressed the need for a strong inter-ministerial strategy to control tobacco use in Indonesia. Specifically, Dr Seto requested the Minister take the lead on accelerating and finalising the PP 109 legislation. This regulation manages the control of materials containing addictive substances in tobacco products, and its revision is related to issues on cigarette brand limitations and plain packaging.

Dr Seto stressed that current regulations are not effective for controlling the uptake of smoking by younger generations in Indonesia. It is predicted that the prevalence of youth smoking may go up by 15 percent if current policies are not strengthened holistically in PP 109 through banning tobacco advertising, promotion, as well as introducing a much-needed policy on sponsorship on the internet.

Dr Muhadjir Effendi responded that the government commits to solving this problem. He said that although the government receives a big amount of money from tobacco excise, tobacco-related diseases and losses caused by tobacco consumption are much higher. He will fully support tobacco control activities and initiatives from LPAI and other networks. On the acceleration of the amendment of PP 109, he requested to be supported with technical and evidence-based arguments.