The Tobacco Success in Indonesia

Published on September 8th, 2009 08:14
Tobacco in Indonesia

Indonesia is one of the many other states which have few rules and regulations. For example in most western countries the Marlboro Man rode off wheezing into the sunset years ago, but in Indonesia he’s riding high into a new daybreak.

The country’s colossal inhabitants and slack laws still offer a success to tobacco products. David Stanford of the Indonesia Consumers Foundation explained that thanks to the Tobacco Company’s perspective Indonesia still remains a paradise.

Statistics show that more than 80 million Indonesians smoke. Cigarettes known as kreteks are very popular among locals. Kreteks are cigarettes made with a complex blend of tobacco, cloves and a flavoring ‘sauce’. The word “kretek” itself is an onomatopoetic term for the crackling sound of burning cloves.

With more nicotine and tar than regular tobacco, kreteks account for 90 percent of the hundreds of billions of cigarettes sold in Indonesia each year.

Today, kretek manufacturers directly employ over 180,000 people in Indonesia and an additional 10 million indirectly. The world’s biggest tobacco corporation, Philip Morris, in 2005 bought Sampoerna, one of Indonesia’s tobacco giants, and last year it launched the world’s first clove-flavored Marlboro.

There is even a curiosity cabinet dedicated to the devilish health warnings Sampoerna’s cigarettes are forced to display when they are sold in countries like Australia.

As it is known, Indonesia is unlike western countries because it has fewer restrictions on advertising. Usually in Indonesia advertising encourages young people to believe that smoking is “cool”. That’s why millions of Indonesians who start smoking as a teenager.

“I bought one pack first, and then continued buying. I felt cool, like I had authority and style. It never crossed my mind that there was disease associated with smoking,” said a regular smoker.

Every year 400,000 Indonesians die from smoking-related diseases but the cynics argued that Indonesia cannot afford to give up smoking. The government gathers billions in taxes and the Tobacco Industry is one of the country’s major employers.

Along with Zimbabwe, Indonesia is the only place that still allows cigarette advertising on television. The new boss of Philip Morris in Indonesia John Gledhill, who has just moved from Australia, said that his conscience is clear. “I work for a company which I believe not only accompanies the law by the letter but also the spirit as well,” he said.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub. All rights reserved.


Related tags: philip morris | tobacco | smokers | nicotine | smoke | tobacco product | marlboro

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