Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Quitting cigarettes in Indonesia

Never forget to read the fine print.

Photos: Stephen Grenville
Photos: Stephen Grenville
Published 23 May 2018 

Nearly two-thirds of Indonesian males smoke. This is said to be the highest rate in the world, and includes the notorious case of the two-year-old with a forty-a-day habit.

The government has enacted various anti-smoking measures, but the powerful tobacco lobby makes this effort half-hearted and ambivalent. Warnings are on packets, but cigarette advertising is not banned. 

Observe the marketing brilliance embodied in these banners and hoardings found in Flores and Bali. The macho reality-TV adventurer is a picture of rugged determination: “Never quit!”

Almost illegible is the fine print of the official warning: “Smoking kills you”.


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