According to Antara, the smoking rate in Indonesia has reached 33.5% of the population. Following the news, the Indonesian Ministry of Health urged stronger tobacco control measures.
Eva Susanti, director of the Indonesian Ministry of Health's Department of Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, attributes the popularity of smoking partly to the low price of cigarettes and the considerable marketing freedom that tobacco companies enjoy in Indonesia.
"Promotional advertising of tobacco products is still very common and advertising regulations remain weak in protecting Indonesian youth and reducing the desire to smoke, especially among children and adolescents," she said.
Susanti called for higher taxes on tobacco products and e-cigarettes, which are also popular in Indonesia. She noted that e-cigarette use has increased from 0.3% of the population to 3%.
Susanti insisted that tobacco tax revenue should support efforts to control smoking and optimize smoking cessation services in all Indonesian regions and cities.
She said her department would work with the ministries of finance, industry and the coordinating ministry of human development and culture to monitor cigarette advertising, enforce taxes and crack down on illegal cigarettes.