Indonesian men are top smokers

Indonesian men are top smokers

JAKARTA - The Associated Press
Indonesian men are top smokers

A cigarette vendor packs cigarettes to be sold for one US cent per stick in Jakarta. AP photo

Indonesian men rank as the world’s top smokers, with two out of three of them lighting up in a country where cigarettes cost pennies and tobacco advertising is everywhere.
A survey released yesterday found that 67 percent of all males over 15 years old smoke. The sprawling archipelago ranked second only to Russia overall with a rate of 35 percent compared to 39 percent, respectively.

 “We have failed in protecting our people,” said Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi, commenting on the rate of male smokers jumping from 53 percent since 1995. “We have been defeated by the tobacco industry ... we don’t want this, we cannot accept this because our job is to protect people from cigarettes.”

More than 8,000 people participated in the study last year, which is part of a global series of surveys taken in 15 countries with heavy tobacco use and supported by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also found a high rate of Indonesians were subjected to second-hand smoke at work, home and in public places.

Mboi said she was particularly alarmed to learn that nearly 80 percent of Indonesians are exposed to smoke at home.

Indonesia has long been criticized for its lack of tobacco controls. It is one of a remaining handful of countries that has failed to sign the WHO’s tobacco treaty. About 3 percent of women smoke in the country. Smoking-related illnesses kill at least 200,000 annually in Indonesia, which has a population of nearly 240 million.

The use of tobacco products is going down in Turkey. While 31.3 percent of people aged 15 and above were using tobacco products in 2008, this number has fallen to 27 percent in 2012, according to data provided by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).