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The relatively low cost of cigarettes in Indonesia, keeps cigarettes affordable even amongst the country’s poorest communities. Sadly the local government has so far has shown no interest in public health and in taking measures that would decrease the demand.

The National Commission on Tobacco Control and the Center for Social Security Studies at the University of Indonesia (PKIS-UI), has recently conducted a survey in order to gauge the perceptions of Indonesians about local cigarette prices.

In 2017 the Trade Minister had said that he had every intention to make it hard for vapers to obtain their products, in order to force them to turn back to smoking tobacco, hence boosting the local economy.
The participants included active smokers, former smokers and non-smokers, and the collected data indicated that 88% of respondents were in favour of increasing the price of cigarettes. “Support for making the price of cigarettes expensive does not only come from non-smokers but also from smokers themselves, as evidenced by the the results of the survey conducted by PKJS-UI in May 2018 of 1,000 respondents,” said PKJS-UI Research Team member Renny Nurhasanah at a press conference in Jakarta yesterday as quoted by Kompas.

 

Currently, the average price of a packet of cigarettes in Indonesia is around IDR 17,000 per pack (US$1.20). The researchers asked the smoking participants how expensive cigarettes would have to be in order for them to quit, and 66% said they would quit if cigarette prices had to go up to IDR 60,000 per pack, while 74% said they would quit at IDR 70,000 per pack.

Local authorities want the tobacco industry to thrive

An article on Coconuts Jakarta, pointed out that these survey results came just days after the Indonesian government released data indicating that local poverty levels have reached historic lows, at 9.82%, dropping below the 10% mark for the first time. Additionally, the same data indicated “that cigarettes remain one of the primary causes of poverty among low-income families.”

In 2017 the Trade Minister of Indonesia had implemented certain e-liquid imports’ restrictions. To the shock of many, on announcing the new regulations the minister had allegedly said that the intention was making it hard for vapers to obtain their products, in order to force them to turn back to smoking tobacco, hence boosting the local economy.

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