"Indonesia is a large populous nation, which has not yet acceded to the FCTC. Therefore, international tobacco companies are targeting Indonesia," Dina Kania, a WHO national official for the tobacco-free initiative, noted here on Tuesday.
Dina affirmed that international tobacco companies were exerting influence on Indonesian decision makers with regard to tobacco policies. They, for instance, were attempting to exert influence on the drafting of the tobacco bill in the countrys 2016 National Legislation Priority Program in the House of Representatives (DPR).
She stated that international tobacco companies intervened in the policy making process as Indonesia viewed them as one of the stakeholders whose opinions should be taken into account before arriving at a decision.
"The FCTC clearly regulates matters relating to the tobacco industry. Based on the framework convention, tobacco companies are not stakeholders, and so, there is no need to involve them while drafting a policy," she pointed out.
Dina remarked that currently, some 180 countries, or 90 percent of the worlds population, had ratified or acceded to the FCTC. Seven countries --- Indonesia, Andorra, Eritrea, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Monaco, and Somalia --- have not yet ratified or acceded to the framework convention.
She emphasized that the negative impacts of the tobacco epidemic were far different than those of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other ailments. The diseases caused by this epidemic were due to unhealthy behaviors.
"The impact of the tobacco epidemic is further worsened by the support of international tobacco companies, which have unlimited sources of funding. Therefore, a breakthrough in the form of an international legal instrument is needed," she added.