(Bali, Indonesia) – On the final day of the 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health (APACT), more than 100 people gathered in Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), Bali, to promote a smoke-free Bali and protest against tobacco industry marketing and sponsorship targeting youth.
The campaign venue was deliberately chosen to demonstrate how the tobacco industry targets youth from Indonesia and the wider region. Since 2015, GWK has been the site of the annual Soundrenaline international music festival, which is sponsored by Sampoerna, a subsidiary of Philip Morris International. The festival began in 2002. Putu Ayu Swandewi Astuti, a Balinese Phd Candidate in Public Health at the University of Sydney, documented the tobacco industry’s constant efforts to target Indonesian youth in The Conversation. The piece notes that one of Sampoerna’s brand slogans, “Go Ahead,” was used prominently during the Soundrenaline festival, reinforcing Philip Morris’ sponsorship of the event.
Dr. Judith Mackay, Vital Strategies’ Senior Advisor on Tobacco commented: “Being at GWK reminds us of the tobacco industry’s hypocrisy in claiming to be working towards a smoke-free world while doing as much as possible to hook youth in low- and middle-income countries on cigarettes. It was terrific to see so many people of different ages and nationalities joining together to publicly reject the tobacco industry’s blatant lies and targeting of youth. It’s been a rousing conclusion to a conference that encourages all of us to commit to re-double our efforts to end the tobacco epidemic across the Asia Pacific region.”
The action was led by international participants in the APACT Youth Conference, the 12th APACT Conference and Balinese youth groups. It featured two giant banners, each comprised of 100 pieces of fabric. One portrayed a tobacco industry executive using activities that attract youth to increase smoking and make money. The action is part of Vital Strategies’ “They Lie We Die” anti-industry campaign and the “Bali Tanpa Rokok” campaign, supporting a smoke-free Bali. Artwork for the action was created by artist Imelda Hutabarat.
Janitra Hapsari, President of the Global Anti-Cigarettes Movement, said: “Multinational tobacco companies like Philip Morris International exploit and market to youth in Indonesia in a way that isn’t permitted in many other countries. Tobacco harms too many of our fellow citizens, who are starting to smoke at every-younger ages. Our youth should be better protected from tobacco marketing, including banning Sampoerna’s sponsorship of Soundrenaline and similar events.”
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