Tobacco Control Stumps Indonesia’s Health Minister
Tobacco industry lobbyists and lawmakers are rebuffing demands for stricter regulation, saying such a move would end millions of livelihoods.
“Many small industries can no longer survive. We feel like we are going to get murdered and only big industry will survive,” said Hafash Gunaman, head of the Association of Kudus Cigarette Makers.
Hafash was responding to renewed calls on the government to accede to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a treaty convened by the World Health Organization in 2003, after the world community singled out Indonesia as the only country in Asia, the Pacific or the G20 that has not attempted to pass tobacco control laws that meet even minimum international standards.
The FCTC requires parties to legislate a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and undertake measures to ban sales to minors, reduce demand, help people end tobacco addiction, protect non-smokers’ health through indoor smoking restrictions, and eliminate smuggling.
“If the tax excise is increased, our product’s market [will shrink], because it will be too expensive. We don’t have enough capital to cope with that,” Hafash said.