Issues:`Growing number of students smoking’

Wed, 11/18/2009 1:12 PM | Opinion

A survey has found about 13 percent of first-time smokers in the country are junior high school students. Muhammad Syahril Mansyur, from the Surakarta Health Agency’s respiratory illness division, said Thursday the finding showed an alarming growth rate of Indonesian smokers. The agency conducted the survey in five major cities across the country, including Surakarta in Central Java.

“This situation is a cause for concern,” he said. “It appears the country’s younger generation is uneducated about the health risks of smoking.” The survey also revealed 89 percent of young female employees were smokers in the five cities. The Indonesian anti-tobacco campaign has reportedly been deemed as ineffective as the government refuses to sign the international convention on tobacco control. It said cigarette producers contributed to a large amount to state revenue and thousands of workers relied on the industry.

Your comments:

I think all of us are responsible for this – families, schools, the cigarette industry and the government. We have to solve this problem. We can start by limiting access to cigarette buyers/consumers; by banning members of our family from smoking; and limiting the frequency of cigarette advertisements in the media, etc. And try all we can to discourage the smoking habit.

Yanuari Brilianto
Jakarta

You don’t need a survey to realize that thousands of youngsters are hooked on cigarettes! In Kupang, you can see so many of these young students smoking in front of their schools, between classes and on their way home.

Many of them are in their early teens and already addicted. As long as the government allows tobacco companies to advertise freely and sponsor sports and music events, smoking is seen as “cool” and is taken up by so many impressionable youngsters. The argument that curtailing advertising tobacco products will result in a loss of jobs in the tobacco industry and reduce the GNP does not hold water.

The cost associated with tobacco-related illnesses is far greater, as is the suffering from tobacco-caused cancer! The tobacco industry lobby keeps lawmakers happy, so that no stringent, anti-tobacco laws will be passed. And, as we all know, our lawmakers have little courage to pass laws that reduce their cash flow. In addition, existing laws that prohibit youngsters buying tobacco products are not enforced.

Henry Manoe
Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara

It is sad that so many young people smoke these days. Why do teachers and parents allow them to smoke?

Susie
Jakarta

This is too bad. Most of the boys in my school smoke. They have been smoking since junior high school. The teachers caught them red-handed, but they’ll never give up. Honestly, I really hate people who smoke. My dad smokes too (but only after he eats stinky foods: petai, etc.) and I always forbid him to do so. But he never listens to me. It’s so hard to stop smokers smoking. Why didn’t we sign the international convention on tobacco control? I know that cigarettes contribute a large amount to our state revenue, but there are many other ways to get it!

Nadira
Jakarta

I was a heavy smoker when I was in junior and senior high schools, and I feel lucky now that I was able to quit. But when I see students smoking confidently on the bus, on the road and in other public places my heart sinks.

Their number has greatly increased over the years. We can’t blame them as they’re young and not yet able to decide what is good for them. Meanwhile, cigarette advertisements on the television and at music concerts supported by cigarette companies bombard us every day.

Everywhere we turn, we see cigarettes adverts. I’m sure if the government does not take a stricter policy against the tobacco industries, the younger generation will have a very gloomy future, as nicotine is very destructive for young brains.

Nur Cholis
Malang, East Java

You are right, it’s sad that young, uneducated people start smoking. But it would be a huge mistake to sign the World Health Organizations tobacco control policy. The damage it has caused worldwide has been so negative to communities, and is more of a US sponsored ideology than a health initiative.

The WHO have told more lies, manipulated science and altered statistics than any other organization. Governments, at the behest of the WHO have spent billions of dollars on more of an anti smoker message, than reducing tobacco use, it’s part of their ideology. At the same time, 33 million are infected with AIDS, and millions starve.

Don’t be a part of this self serving, US dominated and very secretive organization. Each time you sign a UN or WHO treaty, you loose a part of your sovereignty, and the ability to make your own choices. Tell young people the honest truth about the possible implications of smoking, and try stop them until they are old enough to make their own informed decision.

Don’t let the pharmaceutical industry supported lobby groups get a foothold in Indonesia, allowing their lies to go unquestioned. The methods advocated by the WHO have caused hatred, divisiveness and discrimination in many countries, don’t allow it to happen within yours, you already have enough to deal with. Don’t take my word for it, Have a look at the website, and see the growing number of groups around the world fighting for the truth to be told.

Victor
Australia

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