Indonesia, the world's fourth biggest producer of cigarettes, will crack down on online tobacco advertisements in a bid to target youthful smokers, the Minister of Communication and Information, Mr Rudiantara, said on June 13th.
Health groups have stated that the number of teenagers starting to smoke is on the rise in Indonesia, which already has nationwide curbs on cigarette ads, including a
ban on sponsors' promotion of tobacco products, although it is not consistently enforced by regional authorities.
As a response to the situation, the minister said he had given orders for his team to block all online cigarette advertisements after he had sought the ban. "Immediately after receiving the letter, the Minister of Communication and Information gave directions to ban cigarette advertising content on the Internet," the ministry said in a statement.
Rudiantara also said that his team had discovered content on 114 social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, that violated the law and would now be blocked. "We hope by blocking cigarette advertisements on the internet we can reduce the prevalence of smoking, especially among children," Health Minister Nila Moelek said, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper. "Three out of four teenagers know about cigarette advertising from online media."
Meanwhile, media in Indonesia, which is famed for its "kretek" or clove cigarettes, referred to health survey data that showed the number of smokers aged between 10 to 18 years-old, had increased to 9.1% last year from 7.2% in 2013.
On another note, the World Health Organisation said in 2017 that about two-thirds of Indonesian men smoked tobacco daily and more than 21% of boys between 13 and 15 smoked cigarettes regularly.