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International Music Acts called on to Reject Tobacco Sponsorship of Indonesian Rock Festival

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

World Lung Foundation today added its voice to calls that international rock bands including The Smashing Pumpkins, Stereophonics and The Vines should not perform at the Java Rockin' Land festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, unless tobacco company sponsorship and associated branding is removed from the event.

Several bands hail from countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, where laws have been introduced to prevent tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting and entertainment events. These laws protect public health by reducing young people's exposure to marketing messages from the tobacco industry, which are designed to encourage youth to start smoking.

Similar legislation is not in place in Indonesia so tobacco companies are free to target young people. Industry strategies include the branding of music concerts and festivals that are likely to attract a young audience. Its success is evident – more than three-quarters of Indonesian smokers start smoking before the age of 19 and tobacco consumption is so normalized that even a toddler is at risk of addiction to tobacco.

Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation commented: “World-renowned artists like Kelly Clarkson and Alicia Keys listened to their fans and refused to be exploited by tobacco firms in Indonesia. The international acts booked to play at the Java Rockin' Land festival, including The Smashing Pumpkins, Dashboard Confessional, MUTEMATH, Stereophonics, Wolfmother and The Vines, should insist tobacco sponsorship is removed from the festival. Several of these bands are known for supporting good causes and playing benefit concerts. We are appealing for that social conscience – and the influence these bands hold over concert promoters – to be used to help protect their Indonesian fans.”

“In addition, concert organizers in Indonesia should consider how tobacco industry sponsorship will impact their ability to attract international artists. Fans don't like to see their heroes being used by tobacco companies and socially responsible artists don't want to be associated with a product that kills. The international bands signed for Java Rockin' Land should show they value the wellbeing of their Indonesian fans as much as their fans elsewhere around the globe,” concluded Baldini.