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May 31, 2018

On TVs across Indonesia, Richard’s story reveals the true cost of smoking

At a recent event in Jakarta, students also called for policies to stop tobacco from claiming the health and the lives of Indonesians like Richard

(Jakarta, Indonesia and New York, USA) – Vital Strategies today congratulated the government of Indonesia on the official screening of a powerful media campaign, “Kesempatan Kedua Richard” (Richard’s Second Chance), at a Ministry of Health event to commemorate World No Tobacco Day. The video has been designed to prompt quit attempts and the number of the Ministry of Health’s national quit smoking telephone line (0800-177-6565) is featured at the end of the video for smokers who want to access assistance to quit.

The campaign, which is running on national TV stations, prominently features the story of Richard Maradona, a 35 year-old former smoker who gained a second chance at life after two life-saving surgeries to treat his collapsed lung (pneumothorax). His lungs were found to be black with tar from smoking – a known risk factor for pneumothorax.

To coincide with the event in Jakarta today, Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication Vital Strategies, said:  “Our research shows that when tobacco victims tell their own stories, it is highly impactful in prompting thoughts about quitting and quit attempts. We applaud Mr. Maradona’s bravery in sharing his experience. He shines a light on the deadly truth about tobacco, as students in Jakarta have done through the They Lie We Die Campus Roadshow. We hope these campaigns encourage the implementation of a ban on tobacco advertising and other policies to reduce tobacco’s harm across the country, and we congratulate the Ministry of Health on the Richard’s Second Chance campaign.”

Richard’s Second Chance runs from May 18 to June 6 on seven national TV stations and on the train network. Vital Strategies provided technical support for the development of the campaign, which is also promoted via the #SuaraTanpaRokok social media campaign and microsite at Richard’s Second Chance can be viewed here at

Student activists call for action

Inspired by the stories of tobacco victims like Richard, students in Jakarta recently participated in the #TheyLieWeDie Campus Roadshow. At the University of Indonesia on May 28th, 120 students of Public Health participated in a ‘Drop Dead’ action – with each student representing one of the 120 Indonesians who died because of cigarettes during the 15-minute event. The university also hosted an art exhibition where students from four universities (Pelita Harapan University, Jakarta State University, Bina Nusantara University, and Multimedia Nusantara University) involved in the #TheyLieWeDie Campus Roadshow showcased works to highlight the dangers of tobacco and the health-harming actions of the tobacco industry. The event was shared on social media with the hashtag #KombiKeliling (Combi Goes Around) and #TheyLieWeDie.

Richard’s story

Mr. Richard Maradona is a 35 year-old father of two, who started smoking in middle school. He visited a lung specialist in 2016 after finding it hard to breathe during a flight from Surabaya to Jakarta, and discovered that his lungs were black with tar and not functioning properly due to pneumothorax. He had a thoracoscopy and a thoracotomy, which required him to stay in hospital for nearly a month. The treatment was expensive, and he was absent from work for many weeks. During this time, he realized that his smoking was harming his children, who saw a paediatrician at least twice a month for treatment for prolonged, severe cough. After he stopped smoking, the health of his children improved. His message is: “Smoking not only makes you suffer, it will make your family suffer too, so stop smoking. It has no benefit at all.”

Notes to Editors

Tobacco’s deadly cost to Indonesia

According to The Tobacco Atlas, more than 2,677,000 children and 53,767,000 adults use tobacco in Indonesia (57.1 percent of men, 3.6 percent of women, 41 percent of boys and 3.5 percent of girls). The proportion of men, boys and girls who use tobacco is higher in Indonesia than in other middle income countries. Tobacco kills 217,400 Indonesians every year and in 2010, it was the cause of 19.8 percent of deaths among adult men and 8.1 percent of deaths among adult women – higher than the average in other middle income countries. Studies indicate that Indonesian males are initiating tobacco use at younger and younger ages – many as early as twelve years old. Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, which could cost Indonesia’s economy as much as US$4.5 trillion from 2012 to 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health and tobacco control expert, please contact

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