Tobacco firms told to go all-out in campaign against underage smoking

5 December 2016:

Tobacco companies must go all-out with campaigns against underage smoking, including removing tobacco product advertisements near schools, a children’s protection group has urged.

“If tobacco companies truly want to keep cigarettes out of our children’s hands, they needs to stop advertising near schools and targeting Indonesian children with advertisements that promote tobacco use,” Lentera Anak Foundation chair Lisda Sundari said in a statement sent to The Jakarta Postover the weekend.

Last week, cigarette producer Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna, a local subsidiary of global tobacco giant Philip Morris International, announced that it had installed warning signs about the government’s prohibition of cigarette sales to underage customers in over 30,000 convenience stores nationwide. 

Sampoerna, which controls a 34.5 percent market share of Indonesia’s cigarette industry, the largest in Southeast Asia’s most populated country, said it was seeking to collaborate with more convenience store operators in the future to support its view that “children should not have access to cigarettes”.

Lisda, however, said Sampoerna and other tobacco companies must do more than that, as they had been aggressively targeting children by placing tobacco advertisements near schools.

Quoting a recent joint study conducted in five major Indonesian cities by the Children Media Development Foundation (YPMA), an NGO set up by communications researchers concerned with the influence of media on children, Lentera Anak Foundation and Smoke Free Agents (SFA), a community focusing on tobacco control, Lisda said that 85 percent of 360 schools monitored in the study were surrounded by advertisements for tobacco products. (hwa)