TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) Chairman Tulus Abadi said that internet cigarette advertisements that encourage people to smoke 'deserve' to be banned to protect children and teens from the unhealthy habit.
"The existence of internet cigarette ads is truly worrying since [the internet] can be accessed by anyone, anytime, without control and time limit," said Tulus on Thursday, June 13, 2019.
Tulus added that there are currently more than 142 million active internet users across Indonesia, which also include children. He argued that the number is a strong enough reason to implement a ban on cigarette ads on the internet.
Tulus explained cigarette ads on the internet are much different from cigarette advertisements on television. For television advertising, the law stated that it can only be broadcasted in a specific time at night. The Indonesian government limits smoking ads to only be broadcasted from 9:30 PM to 05:00 AM.
"Indonesia remains a haven for cigarette advertisers. Even though many countries have banned cigarette advertisements and any form of [cigarette] promotions. Europe, for example, had banned them since 1960 and the United States since 1973," said Tulus.
Banning cigarette advertisements on the internet should be considered as a necessary effort to reduce smoking prevalence among children and teenagers. The Health Ministry's research in 2018 recorded a 7.2 percent increase in smoking prevalence among children and teenagers aged 10 to 18-years old 2013, and a 9.1 percent increase in 2018.
Tulus also applauded the step taken by Health Minister Nila F Moeloek who requested the Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara to banning cigarette ads on the internet
"The Health Minister's move needs to be supported. This is why YLKI requests the Communication and Informatics Minister to block internet smoking ads," said Tulus.