issue 002

Rian, who smokes just occasionally, smokes a cigarette in east Jakarta, Indonesia.

Indonesian culture is steeped in the smoking, selling and growing of tobacco. Cheap cigarettes, ubiquitous tobacco advertising, a powerful tobacco industry and lack of government enforcement are fueling a national addiction.

Nearly 70% of the men in this predominantly Muslim country smoke– making it the highest rate amongst men in the world and it often begins from childhood. This on-going series captures young child smokers in villages and cities across Indonesia. These addicted children are growing up in an age when demand for tobacco is growing and foreign tobacco giants such as Marlboro maker Philip Morris are establishing themselves as smoking rates decline in some developing countries.

As various parties stand to gain, smokers in Indonesia are getting younger– by 2010 there were at least 426,000 smokers 10-14 years old up from 71,000 in 1995.

from lensculture by Michelle Siu

Dihan Muhamad used to smoke up to two packs of cigarettes a day before cutting down. Still, he must have his first cigarette at 7 AM before attending his first grade classes. Village, near the town of Garut in West Java, Indonesia.

Dihan Muhamad smokes as his mother breastfeeds his brother. His father smokes and grows tobacco. His mother occasionally smoked when she was pregnant with Dihan.

Dihan Muhamad, whose father smokes and farms tobacco, smokes in a hillside village near Garut in West Java, Indonesia.

Cecep, who has lived on the streets for longer than he can remember after his mother passed away, poses for a photo as he smokes in Garut in West Java, Indonesia.

Eman smokes a cigarette while clutching a bag of juice in Jakarta, Indonesia. He lives on the street and pays a fee to be part of a “community” which is similar to a gang. The scar on his forehead is from a fight with a neighboring, rival “community.”

Ompong, which means “toothless”, poses for a photograph as he has a cigarette in South Jakarta, Indonesia.

Illham Muhamad, who has smoked since he was five years old, slowly inhales his first cigarette of the day at his grandmother’s home at his hillside village near Garut in West Java, Indonesia. He does not attend school and if his grandmother refuses to give him money to buy cigarettes, he will cry and throw fits.

Ilham Hadi began smoking when he was four years old and at some points smoked up to two packs a day. Above, he wears his third grade uniform while smoking in his bedroom as his younger brother looks on.

Andika Prasetyo smokes outside an internet cafe where smoking is permitted in Depok, West Java, Indonesia. He smokes about a pack of cigarettes a day.

Author Profile

editor_gakuYokohama City, Japan
name: takeo yokoyama bio: the editor of "moment edition" established in 1993, a curator about nature history and a cinematographer. attended to the biological conservation in costa rica in 2001 to organize the project about "eco-tourism", and was a witness of 9.11, as a solo-tourist around europe and asia, especially in paris, prague and indonesia.
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2 thoughts on “issue 002

  1. editor’s appendix:

    Indonesia’s resort island of Bali has awesomely refused to host the world’s largest tobacco trade fair/ from “global post” by Peter Gelling, January 28 2014

    A country besieged by Philip Morris and friends may finally be standing up for itself.

    Cigarette advertising in Indonesia is so offensively prevalent no one blinks an eye when Philip Morris sponsors a refugee camp, let alone a children’s concert.

    This is a country where a huge billboard in Jakarta promoting the cigarette brand LA Lights reads, in really big letters, “Don’t Quit.” Even worse — if it can be worse — the “Do” and the “it” are highlighted in bolded red.

    Such giant billboards glare at motorists along all of the country’s streets, rural and urban, hawking the brands so much of the world has already vilified. Marlboro and Djarum, and others, sponsor almost every major event and are so clearly marketing to kids you wonder if their managers have trouble sleeping at night. Paging Jeffrey Wigand.

    A third of all Indonesians smoke. Twenty percent of kids aged 13 to 15 smoke. And 225,000 Indonesians die every year from smoking. Yet the concept of quiting remains relatively foreign to many Indonesians, who will offer you a cigarette as a gesture of goodwill so agressively that if you are trying to quit you have no chance.

    You might remember a video of a toddler addicted to smoking in Indonesia. It went viral in 2010 and sparked a soul-searching that was as short-lived as you might expect in a place where the government is blatantly corrupt and cigarette companies blatantly rich.

    Driven out of the West by regulations and taxes, cigarette companies years ago shifted their strategy to Southeast Asia, where they aimed to re-capitalize. And capitalize they did. The whole story is expertly reported in the documentary “Sex, Lies and Cigarettes,” which you can (and should) watch in its entirety here.

    So against all these odds it’s a most welcome change that Bali, the world famous resort island many forget is a part of Indonesia, has refused to host the world’s largest tabacco trade fair. Health activists across the region celebrated the decision, calling on the rest of Indonesia to do the same.

    “The Bali governor has put his people’s interests above others,” Bungon Ritthiphakdee, director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, told the Jakarta Post.

    This is no small thing. Bali’s local government is surely giving up a large windfall. The island has made holding large conferences the lynchpin of its tourist economy in recent years. The potential for profit is huge and the sell is easy. If you want to hold a conference and attract attendees, it might as well be on an island synonmous with magic and mysticism and beaches and volcanoes and sensual traditional dancing (let’s pretend for a second that the traffic is not crippling).

    So for a country and an island that could use the money, the rejection of Asia’s Big Tobacco is pretty fuckin’ awesome.

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