UGM Professor in Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing, Prof. Dra. R.A. Yayi Suryo Prabandari, M.Si., Ph.D., assessed tobacco control in Indonesia was still weak, thus not influencing smoking behaviour. Meanwhile, smoking is one of risk factors of Non-Transmissible Disease that cause the most fatalities in the country.
“Public service advertisement in electronic media on smoking hazards is very few, moreover health adverts in outdoor display. Elimination of tobacco adverts, promotion, and sponsors are still very rare,” said the professor whilst delivering her inaugural professorship remarks on Thursday (15/2) in the Senate Hall UGM.
Reportedly, Indonesia is the only Asia Pacific countries that has not signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Indonesia, she said, was still displaying smoking adverts in mass media and outdoor display. Tobacco price in Indonesia is cheaper than in other countries, too.
“The presence of many tobacco companies in Indonesia has slowed down the policy and regulation of tobacco control,” said the lady born 54 years ago.
She considered Indonesia needs to enhance tobacco control because the proportion of male young smokers in the country is the highest in Asia. School age (15-19 years old) smokers has doubled in the past decade while male smokers multiplied by four times in the last 20 years.
Smoking habit can be influenced by several factors, such as low perception of smoking disadvantage and smoker models around them, family or friends influence, or exposition to smoking ads.
“Based on etiological review of smoking behaviour, it is known that smoking addiction is caused by the expanding personal, social, and environmental factors. Smoking control thus needs to take these factors into account,” said Yayi.
She considered regulations in the regional level needs to be enhanced and advocated while national regulations need to be followed by by-laws or local agreement. Media message, design and use need also to be improved by changing the format into modern media to increase awareness and influence smoker’s behaviours.
“Digital health promotion is a challenge to be done for the future because society may obtain information on tobacco from information technology,” she said.
She further asked all players, advocates, and observers of smoking behaviour to unite for advocacy for the banishment of tobacco advert in electronic, digital, and outdoor media while tobacco duties need to be increased. She urged the elimination of adverts that may persuade the young people into doing health hazard habit.
“Challenge to regulations for health promotion of smoking control still persists, but through advocacy and movement, the goal of healthy and smoke free Indonesia may be achieved,” she concluded.