Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry has suggested that the Draft Government Regulation on Health include rules requiring those producing, importing, and distributing tobacco products to obtain a license.

It has also suggested a prohibition on the sale of tobacco products and electric cigarettes to those under 21 and pregnant women, the ministry's deputy assistant for children's health and education rights fulfillment, Amurwani Dwi Lestariningsih, informed.

At a media briefing on World No-Tobacco Day, she said that the suggestions were among some measures to prevent or stop the youth from smoking.

The 2023 National Health Survey pegged the prevalence of smoking in the 10–18 age group at 14.3 percent for boys and 0.2 percent for girls.

Lestariningsih also drew attention to the increase in the prevalence of electric cigarette smokers as the habit is promoted as a cool lifestyle choice for the young by advertisements.

Moreover, the industry is constantly appealing to the youth to smoke through creative approaches, such as by making variations of vape flavors.

Some other measures to prevent the youth from smoking include developing child-friendly cities and districts, an integrated system to protect and develop children, including by controlling the use of tobacco, Lestariningsih said.

The 17th of the 24 indicators of child-friendly cities and districts requires that the ministry encourage cities and districts to designate smoke-free areas, she added.

"Currently, we are also pursuing efforts to ensure that households are smoke-free because many smokers start from consumption in households," she informed.

She said that smoking in households is detrimental to children's development.

A significant portion of the family budget also goes toward the purchase of tobacco instead of food ingredients like eggs and meat, she pointed out.

She said that the ministry is also educating the youth about the dangers of smoking as well as the importance of reproductive health. This is expected to encourage them to influence their peers to not smoke, she added.

It is also listening to children's aspirations, who expect the government to regulate smoke-free areas.

"And then the government also establishes regulations on prohibition of cigarette ads, products, and sponsorships placement in youth activities," she said.

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Reporter: Mecca Yumna Ning Prisie
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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