Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tobacco is killing

         US President Barack Obama used to smoke for years. He never said that smoking is good or that quitting is easy. He has made clear that quitting is a struggle.
         Tobacco kills more than 500,000 Indonesians every year. But some legislators still conclude that even to debate signing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is “not urgent”. They are risking 225 million Indonesian citizens due to primary, secondary and third-party chain-smokers.

         People who choose not to smoke are still at risk of getting sick because of the smoke from people smoking nearby. It’s estimated that more than 62 percent of Indonesian citizens smoke, including children. It is easier to find cigarettes than clean public toilets or a library in this country. After 64 years after independence, our nation is still unable to stop DVD piracy. How can the government dare stop tobacco industries from expanding their production, as tobacco companies are highly productive taxpayers, up to 9 percent of our national gross income. 
           In 1995, cigarette production was approximately 199.5 billion cigarettes; 10 years later in 2005, 235.5 billion. The prevalence of teen and child smokers had increased by 139.4 percent (1995-2004).
Tobacco kills more people per annum than the total number of victims of HIV, fire and car accidents.
          In Indonesia, a pack of cigarettes may cost US$ 1, but consider its neighboring country Singapore, $7 per pack. In Indonesia, there are no regulations governing the age and the purchase of tobacco.
          Cigarettes are advertised on TV. There are cigarette advertisements on billboards. Tobacco companies sponsor everything from sports leagues to dance parties to scholarships.
          Preventing smoking among the young generation is a compulsory measure. We can only build Indonesia with healthy citizens. Let us pray that President Obama will stop smoking as well.
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