Preschoolers puffing away in Indonesia

| June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

You might think that everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. Try telling that to young Dihan, a six-year-old living in Java who’s trying to cut down his fouryear- long, two-pack-a-day addiction.

In Indonesia, reports Lisda Sundari, deputy director for education and advocacy at the nongovernment organisation Lentera Anak, the number of children aged ten to fourteen years who smoke has doubled over the past twenty years, and has at least tripled for five- to nine-year-olds.

Indonesia has yet to sign the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. As a result, a pack costs only about US$1 and the country is flooded with advertising. Indonesian authorities, says Sundari, do little to inform the people of the dangers of tobacco.

The problem is compounded by the fact that tobacco is one of Indonesia’s biggest cash crops.

National Commission on Tobacco Control commissioner Hakim Sorimuda Pohan said in March 2015 that cigarette companies are colluding with politicians to up the sales of the product in Indonesia. Meanwhile, Indonesian president Joko Widodo has tightened the laws against drug traffickers, making their execution a priority.

Category: Winter 2015

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