Network launches road map for tobacco control

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, June 26 2013

An anti-tobacco network launched a road map on Monday that they hope will accelerate Indonesia’s ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) put forth a decade ago by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Indonesia is one of the 10 countries which have not ratified the FCTC. Therefore, we think it is necessary to make a road map on controlling tobacco in Indonesia as a guide for the public and officials who want to participate in preventing the risks of cigarettes,” chairman of the Indonesia Tobacco Control Network (ITCN), Kartono Mohamad, said on Monday.

Kartono said that cigarette consumption in Indonesia increased every year, with Indonesia now having the third-highest number of smokers worldwide. According to data from the ITCN, 70 million people in Indonesia up to June 2013, had smoked 302 million cigarettes.

Kartono pointed out that the convention stipulated controlling prices and taxing of cigarettes, advertisements and sponsorships as well as the placement of warning labels on packages, and banning cigarettes sales to children.

Data from the Health Ministry shows that in 2010, 34.7 percent of Indonesians over the age of 10 smoke, which makes them vulnerable to six of the eight most common causes death, including cancer, hypertension and heart disease.

Chairman of the road map working group, Sudibyo Markus, said the road map was produced after in-depth analysis of the current situation and the obstacles related to tobacco, such as slow action from the government, weak law enforcement, the high numbers of smokers and the hazardous impact of cigarettes to the public.

“We have divided this road map into five main topics related to public and legal policies, the economy, health, education and sociocultural aspects associated with tobacco products,” he said.

He pointed out that the map also highlighted the relationship between smoking and poverty and analyzed current issues to facilitate the development of a tobacco control plan, featuring risk management that could create greater public participation in handling the tobacco and cigarettes issue.

“We hope that we can encourage a public movement to help us in reducing the number of smokers, especially the younger ones,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the director general of Disease Control and Environmental Health from the Health Ministry, said that the ministry applauded the network for launching the road map.

“This represents real action and commitment to controlling tobacco in Indonesia,” Tjandra said.

He added that the ministry had recently completed its own version of the road map in the form of an academic draft on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“We held a meeting last week to determine the possibility of reaching an accession on the convention. We also sent letters to some ministries to gather support for the convention,” he said.

He said that the Health Ministry had passed some regulations to mitigate the health effects of cigarettes including Ministry Regulation No. 28/2013 on the inclusion of information and pictorial warnings on cigarette packaging and Regulation No. 40/2013 road map on guidance for tobacco control as well as regulation No. 109/2012 on overcoming the problems caused by cigarette smoking.

“The ministry’s main targets for the next five years are to reduce the numbers of smokers and improve facilities in non-smoking areas,” he said. (tam)