Update: 1 June 2009World No Tobacco Day : Smoking is Still a Problem.
Smoking is a serious problem that has to be handled by the Indonesian government. According to data from the WHO, Indonesia has the third highest number of smokers among Asian countries; Indonesia currently has in excess of 146 million smokers, with a prevalence of 63,1% of the male population and 4,5% of the female population in 2004. It cannot be doubted that this number will increase in the future, as many young Indonesians are becoming active smokers because they have been influenced by their environment, including advertising, and because they still think it represents a “cool” lifestyle.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, almost 2 million Indonesian children between the ages of 7 and 18 smoke an average of 8 cigarettes per day. However, all active smokers realize that smoking is hazardous to your health and can cause death. The WHO estimates that in the year 2030 the amount of deaths caused by cigarette consumption will reach 10 million people per year, 70% of which will occur in developing countries, including Indonesia.
The government’s effort of enforcing a written warning on each cigarette package sold has not significantly influenced active smokers who are considering quitting their habit. In fact, smokers tend to completely ignore this warning. The Health Promotion Center of the Department of Health RI is also urging cigarette companies not only to add a warning label, but also to add a picture that shows visually the dangers of smoking.
The Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta has also issued Local Regulation (Perda) DKI Jakarta No.2 Year 2005, regarding the ban on smoking in public areas, health facilities, workplaces, educational facilities, child activity arenas, places of worship and public transportation. However, this regulation has been widely ignored by smokers. Unfortunately it is still a common sight to see smokers enjoying their cigarette inside an overcrowded bus.
Another appeal has been made by the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta. In the framework of the World No Tobacco Day and sporting the theme “Free my Jakarta from Cigarette Smoke, Let’s make Jakarta Clean and Free from Cigarette Smoke,” all public and private office buildings in DKI Jakarta were obliged to install a banner reminding people of the dangers of smoking. This banner had to remain installed for a whole week, from 29 May to 5 June 2009.
This year, the celebration of the World No Tobacco Day, which falls on 31 May each year, was held on the Tugu Monas square. “Tobacco causes a lot of harm to our health and (can) influence the wellbeing of our family,” said the Chairman of the National Commission of Tobacco Control, Prof. Farid Anfasa Moeloek, in Jakarta on 31 May 2009. According to him, 70% of smokers belong to the middle to lower income class and they “get their limited income merely to burn it up in the form of cigarettes.”
The event was crowned by an anti smoking parade that was attended by 2,200 junior and senior high school students from all over Jakarta. This parade was officially opened by the Governor of DKI Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, and by a representative of WHO Indonesia.
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