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Oct 13, 2010

Indonesia urged to axe tobacco advertising

SYDNEY — An Asia Pacific summit of anti-smoking campaigners has urged Indonesia to regulate its tobacco industry and cigarette advertising.

Indonesia urged to axe tobacco advertising

"Tobacco advertising and promotional activities in Indonesia are unmatched anywhere else in Asia," the Asia Pacific Association for the Control of Tobacco (APACT) said in a resolution.

Describing Indonesia’s “public health disaster” the Sydney summit of 700 delegates from 41 countries made an ‘urgent’ appeal that Jakarta sign on to the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship.

International bands were criticized for performing at a major music festival in Jakarta which was sponsored by Gudang Garam, Indonesia's largest tobacco company.

"Rock groups from western countries such as the US, UK and Australia, who would not allow tobacco sponsorship of their concerts in their own countries or anywhere else in the world, are performing in Indonesia under tobacco brand names," said APACT.

Indonesia earns billions of dollars a year in tax revenues from tobacco companies, which employ millions of people across the country.

APACT said more than 200,000 people die every year from tobacco-related causes in Indonesia, with 60 per cent of the country's men estimated to be smokers and a "disturbing" trend of children taking up the habit.

International attention was drawn to Indonesia’s smoking problem when a disturbing YouTube clip of a smoking toddler went viral.

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