The Tobacco Epidemic
61 million Indonesians smoke; 67.4% of men and 4.5% of women use tobacco. As a consequence, more than 225,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases every year. More than 97 million Indonesian non-smokers are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke. It is estimated that exposure to second-hand smoke accounts for up to 25,000 deaths among non-smoking Indonesians each year.
The majority of smokers in Indonesia (80%) use kreteks, clove-flavoured cigarettes.
Healthcare costs attributed to tobacco-related illness in Indonesia amount to 1.2 billion USD each year. Indonesian smokers spend, on average, 11.5% of their household income on tobacco products.
Policies in Place
Indonesia has not yet ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The primary national tobacco control laws are Law No. 36 of 2009 Concerning Health and Government Regulation No. 109 of 2012, the latter issued under the former. These laws empower the Ministry of Health to regulate TAPS, smokefree places and packaging and labelling. These national laws:
- Prohibit smoking on public transit and in healthcare facilities, educational facilities, and places of worship. All other spaces must have a designated smoking area. The law requires passage of local smokefree legislation but did not set a deadline; some local governments have yet to pass legislation.
- Allow TAPS but create restrictions. For example, television and radio advertisements may only be played late at night and no advertising may show cigarettes, the shape of cigarettes, tobacco product branding, or smoking.
- Require pictorial and text health warnings that cover 40% of the main display of packaging. Misleading terms such as "light" and "low-tar" are prohibited, but not for cigarettes that already had these words in their branding.
- Allow sub-national regulations that are stricter than the national law.
The Union's achievements
The Union has provided technical support for the amendment of the 2009 Health Law covering smoke-free places and health warnings on tobacco products, as well as for government regulations on implementation of the health law. The Union has assisted with the development of several other tobacco control policies and the Ministry of Health Tobacco Control Roadmap 2009-2024.
In 2011, starting with 12 mayors, The Union and the Ministry of Health jointly established the Indonesian Mayor's Alliance to gain local political will for tobacco control. By early 2013, the Alliance boasted 59 members active in both local and national tobacco control policy promotion. The Mayors Alliance in Indonesia resulted in 30 cities/districts and 6 provinces—Including Jakarta and Bali—adopting smoke-free policies by the close of 2014.
The Union's ‘Warn about the dangers of tobacco’ workshop held in Indonesia in September 2011 was instrumental in communicating the need for pictorial health warnings to the county's President. Delegates attending from the Ministry of Health, Parliamentary Health Caucus and seven health professional organisations drafted a declaration that graphic health warnings should cover at least 50% of tobacco packing. This declaration was sent to the President who also met with tobacco control advocates who had attending the training. On 24 December 2012, a government regulation of the health law was passed by the President of Indonesia. One of the key provisions of the regulation is a requirement for 40% pictorial health warnings to be implemented by June 2014. Ministry of Health released a ministerial decree on pictorial health warning in April 2013.
Since 2008, The Union has worked to expand and strengthen political will for tobacco control implementation and FCTC accession in Indonesia. The Union provides technical assistance, capacity building, research and network support for tobacco control to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, sub-national governments, civil society, professional organisations and national commissions.