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Indonesia to Block Online Smoking Ads as Teenaged Smoking Increases

A protest against smoking ads

Although the world’s fourth largest producer of cigarettes, Indonesia aims to block all online tobacco advertisements targeting youthful smokers.

Communication Minister Rudiantara stated that he had instructed his team to remove all online cigarette advertisements, as requested by the Ministry of Health.

“Immediately after receiving the letter, the Minister of Communication and Information, Rudiantara gave direction to cull cigarette advertising content on the internet,” the Ministry of Communication confirmed in a statement. Rudiantara explained that he had already found 114 pieces of content on social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which had violated the laws. The content will now be blocked.

Indonesia’s Health Minister, Nila Moeloek also added, “We hope that by blocking cigarette advertisements on the internet we can reduce the prevalence of smoking, especially among children.”

According to several health groups, the number of smoking teenagers has significantly increased in the country and has caused nationwide concern. It is estimated that 9.1 per cent of teenagers between the ages of 10-18 smoke. The number was 7.2 per cent back in 2013. It was also discovered that three out of four teenagers found out about cigarette smoking from online media.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its 2017 report estimated that about two thirds of Indonesian men smoke tobacco daily. 21 per cent of boys aged 13-15 smoke cigarettes regularly. Health groups have urged the government to limit cigarette ads as well as to ban sponsors promoting tobacco products.

Source: Channel News Asia
Image: Tribun Medan

See: A Brief History of Tobacco

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