Skip to content ↓
Press Room

Tobacco Harms the Future of Indonesia’s Children

(May 27, 2016, Jakarta, Indonesia and New York, USA) – Global public health experts Vital Strategies congratulates the Government of Indonesia on a new campaign that shows tobacco’s economic harm to smokers and their families, especially children. The campaign, ‘Suara Hati Anak (The Conscience of a Child)’, was launched today by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Vital Strategies collaborated with MoHon the design and implementation of the campaign, which will be broadcast on national television stations including Trans TV, Trans 7, RCTI, and Global TV until June 10th. The campaign will also be promoted and shared on YouTube and over social media at and using #SuaraTanpaRokok (“Smoke-free voices”).

‘Suara Hati Anak’ shows a father, bed-ridden by tobacco-related illness, whose daughter has had to leave education to help support her family. The family’s anguish is evident, from the father’s physical pain and emotional guilt to the daughter’s loss of her happy, successful school days. She wonders why her father used tobacco, asking “How would father love me, if he can’t love himself?” The PSA closes with a call to action “Sayangi dirimu, sayangi keluargamu, berhentilah merokok! (Love yourself, love your family, stop smoking!)”

Speaking at today’s launch event, part of a series of activities to mark World No Tobacco Day 2016, the Minister of Health, Nila F. Moeloek said: “Tobacco use in all forms causes health harms in our society and therefore this problem needs to be addressed as a high priority. The data show that tobacco related illness ranks highly as a cause of death from non-communicable disease. We can prevent this by protecting the younger generation from exposure to tobacco.”

José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies, said: “We congratulate Indonesia’s government on the launch of this new campaign, which highlights the economic harms of tobacco. The poorest families in Indonesia spend nearly 12 percent of their income on cigarettes. As this campaign shows, the impact on a family’s economic well-being and a child’s life opportunities can be even more catastrophic when a breadwinner falls sick due to tobacco consumption. At the national level, Indonesia’s economy will lose as much as US$4.5 trillion by 2030 if the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease, cancers, chronic respiratory illness and diabetes is not reduced – and tobacco use is the leading risk factor for NCDs.

“Indonesia is making progress in terms of using mass and social media campaigns to warn citizens about the harms of tobacco, but there must be real incentives to quit, too. In this instance, critical information about tobacco’s economic harms could be used to build support for higher, simplified tobacco taxes that are proven to have the greatest impact in encouraging the poorest smokers to cut down and quit. We commend this policy to Indonesia’s Government, while also recommitting ourselves to assisting the Government in warning Indonesians about tobacco’s deadly harms, aiding Indonesia’s progress towards its goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Tobacco control campaigns in Indonesia

This is the fourth national tobacco control campaign to air in Indonesia in recent years. Three previous victim testimonial campaigns – developed and implemented by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Vital Strategies (formerly known as World Lung Foundation) – featured:

  • Panjaitan, a religious man and community elder left unable to speak after surgery to treat life-threatening smoking-related cancer of the larynx
  • Ike, a mother of two from Surabaya and victim of second-hand smoke, who has been diagnosed with throat cancer, and
  • Robby, who died from tobacco-related cancer at the age of 27.

The PSAs and stills and scripts from the PSAs are available upon request.

Tobacco’s deadly cost to Indonesia

According to The Tobacco Atlas, more than 2,677,000 children and 53,767,000 adults use tobacco daily 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 in Indonesia is higher 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. This is higher than the average in other middle income countries. Several 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 envisions a world where every person is protected by a strong public health system.  Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.  Vital Strategies was formed when The Union North America and World Lung Foundation joined forces.  It is an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies, at +44.7889.081.170 or