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Indonesia struggling to deter children from smoking

08-31-2010 10:02 BJT

JAKARTA, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia is now struggling to make its young generation avert smoking habit as smoking age is getting younger from year to year.

The government-sanctioned commission tasked to protect children's rights (KPAI) through its statement released recently said that according to the most recent data issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2008, Indonesia was ranked number third in terms of smokers.

The KPAI Chairman Hadi Soepeno said that according to the data, Indonesia has 65 million smokers, or 28 percent of its population, with youngster smokers accounting for 13.5 percent.

Hadi said "24 percent of male and 2 percent of female children aged between 12 and 15 started to smoke. The number of children exposing to the danger of smoking was even greater as 70 percent of men in the families were active smokers."

According to Hadi, the massive cigarette sales and advertisements in the country had made the prevalence of children smokers and far younger than 19 years old 10 years ago.

The future of 80 million Indonesian children is at stake as the cigarette producers were intentionally aiming children as their future market through massive TV advertisements and sponsorships on activities in which teenagers involved the most, Hadi added.

Hadi urged the government to immediately enact a regulation that declares tobacco addictive substance endangers health as part of the efforts to save children from smoking. The draft of the regulation is being discussed in the Justice and Human Rights ministry.

Among regulations, highly expected to be issued by the government were the ban on cigar commercial advertisement, either on TV or outdoor billboards, on smoking in public places and on selling cigarettes to children.

According to Hadi, Indonesian children have the rights to be protected from the addictive substance that endanger their health as their rights are guaranteed in the state's constitution.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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