Group Wants Cigarette Ads Banned

3 Februari 2014

An NGO has called on the government to drop its plan to allow cigarette makers to advertise their products under the broadcasting bill currently being deliberated at the House of Representatives.The NGO, Anak Indonesia, said that the broadcast of cigarette ads would encourage smoking habits among teens, who make up the largest demographic television viewer.”More than 90 percent of children see cigarette ads on television, which make them think smoking is normal,” the NGO said in a statement.In 2012, the World Tobacco website claimed that 30 percent of Indonesia’s 248 million population smoked, making it the fifth-largest cigarette market in the world. Out of this number, Lentera Anak Indonesia claimed that the number of teenage smokers in Indonesia had tripled from 1995-2010. The World Health Organization .(WHO) has also stated that as of 2012, 34.8 percent of adults currently smoke tobacco while 29.2 percent are daily tobacco smokers.


Contacted separately, Arya Sinulingga, the corporate secretary of Media Nusantara Citra (MNC), which controls RCTI, MNCTV and Global TV, shrugged off the NGO’s demand. “The problem of smoking in Indonesia has nothing to do with advertisements. Advertisements aren’t effective if there are no products available. The problem is with the distribution of tobacco products. It is too easy to get cigarettes here, even underage children can purchase them. Even if there aren’t any commercials, you can still get them anywhere. The government should be stricter on distribution regulations rather than focus on advertisements,” he said.Corporate secretary of Viva groups, which owns TVOne and ANTV, Neil Tobing, also said television channels under the group had no problem airing cigarette ads as long as they complied with existing regulations


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