Under a planned new regulation, Indonesia's Health Ministry is seeking to control the promotion and packaging of e-cigarettes, which have been unregulated since they were legalized in 2018. The health ministry also seeks to increase the size of health warnings on tobacco packaging from 40 percent to 90 percent, ban advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products, and ban the sale of single cigarettes.
The number of underage smokers has been increasing every year, especially since the legalization of e-cigarettes, said Imran Agus Nurali, director of health promotion and community empowerment at the Ministry of Health, in a webinar on Aug. 11. He stressed the need for stronger measures to reduce tobacco consumption in order to protect future generations from the effects of smoking.
Banning advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is also crucial, he added, as about 65 percent of Indonesian children are exposed to tobacco advertising through television, point-of-sale ads and billboards, according to the 2019 Global Youth Tobacco Survey.
Currently, Indonesia is the only country in Southeast Asia that still allows tobacco advertising on television and paper media. The government plans to further increase tobacco excise taxes next year, in addition to revising existing tobacco regulations.
Earlier this year, the country's Ministry of Finance raised excise taxes on tobacco by 12 percent, resulting in an average 35 percent increase in the price of tobacco products.