Indonesia - students/activists hold rally to ban cigarettes..

June 3, 2009 - Marking international anti-tobacco day, thousands of students and activists yesterday rallied in Indonesia, the only country in the region that has no legislation banning cigarette advertisements.

In the capital Jakarta, city governor Fauzi Bowo an anti-tobacco rally. "This event is in line with the government's programme to reduce air pollution, and the bad habit of smoking contributes largely to the air pollution," Antara news agency quoted Bowo saying.

Citing a global survey, Bowo said that 46.7 per cent of youths have tried smoking. He added that 9 per cent had access to tobacco since 10 years old, and 20 per cent of them became active smokers. "I'm very happy that such an awareness to avoid smoking is already with you all, the youth. So, let's fight together (against smoking)," Bowo told about 2,500 students.

Similar rallies were held in other parts of the archipelago. "We celebrate no tobacco day by calling on the people to respect the rights of those who do not smoke and also warning the public about the danger of smoking to our health," Maulizar, the rally coordinator in the East Java capital of Surabaya, was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post website.

Of South-East Asia's 125 million cigarette smokers, some 46 per cent are in Indonesia, the South-East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said last Monday.

The anti-smoking group said Indonesia has become a "cash cow" for Philip Morris International, the owner of Indonesia's PT HM Sampoerna Company, which last year claimed 30 per cent of the Indonesian market and an estimated revenue of US$1 billion ($1.44 billion).

Reference: Thousands attend Jakarta anti-tobacco rally, DPA, The Brunei Times, 6/1/-2009.

Image - Indonesia students holding no smoking signs during a campaign to mark World No Tobacco Day in Jakarta, Indonesia.Picture: EPA..

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