STUBBING OUT A GLOBAL MENACE: Anti-smoking measures

Indonesia: Cash-rich tobacco lobby, cheap puffs fuel smoking habit

More than half of the 122 million adult smokers in Asean countries live in Indonesia, according to a 2016 study.
More than half of the 122 million adult smokers in Asean countries live in Indonesia, according to a 2016 study.PHOTO: REUTERS

Across Asia, various governments have stepped in to curb smoking to manage the side effects of second-hand smoke, and in a bid to reduce the burden tobacco use has imposed on healthcare systems. Our correspondents look at what's been done - and how effective it has been - to get smokers to stop lighting up.

A pack of 20 Marlboro Lights costs about 26,000 rupiah (S$2.50) at convenience stores. It can go up to 30,000 rupiah, depending on the store.

At two years old, chubby-cheeked Aldi Rizal became the face of Indonesia's smoking crisis in 2010 after a shocking video showing him twirling lit cigarettes in his fingers between long, hungry puffs was shared across the Internet, rocketing him to international fame.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 06, 2019, with the headline 'Cash-rich tobacco lobby, cheap puffs fuel smoking habit'. Print Edition | Subscribe