Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the honorary assembly at the National Society of Respirology (PDPI) Tjandra Yoga Aditama listed some measures that can be applied to protect youth from the dangers of smoking.

In an online discussion on World No Tobacco Day here on Friday, Aditama quoted WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who stated that the use of tobacco has declined in 150 countries, and globally, there are 19 million fewer smokers as compared to two years ago.

However, in Indonesia, the number of active smokers exceeds 70 million, and most of them are young people, he pointed out. Moreover, he drew attention to a rise in the number of active smokers in Indonesia.

Thus, in order to protect the youth, some measures should be pursued, with the first being expanding smoke-free areas.

"We know that smoking is not allowed at schools and universities, but (while they prohibit smoking), people selling cigarettes can (still) be found outside schools," he pointed out.

He noted that the next measure is to appeal to students, so they encourage family members who smoke to quit. He remarked that in some instances, men quit the habit at the request of their children or grandchildren.

He also suggested putting in place a curriculum on the dangers of smoking in schools and universities. Aditama revealed that as an example, he had tasked some of his students to conduct research on the topic.

It can be simple research and does not have to be at the level of an international scientific journal, he added.

Another measure he highlighted was promoting quit-smoking services. Despite several such services available in clinics, not many partake in them, so it becomes increasingly important to promote them further.

He cited as an example holding a small contest in which students upload a quit smoking campaign to their social media handles, and the one with the post drawing the maximum number of likes will earn a prize, such as in the form of pocket money.

"This (use of) social media (to raise awareness) is important, not only to explain the dangers of smoking but also to counter marketing. (It is) because currently, as mentioned, the tobacco industry utilizes many digital platforms to advertise it," he pointed out.

He also called for the need for stricter marketing of tobacco products for the youth, for example, by prohibiting them from being sold to those under 21 or barring the sale of single cigarettes.

"And excise must also be increased. This will have an impact on the youth, and the state's foreign exchange can be (generated) due to high excise, and on the other hand, kids and youth will have a harder time buying cigarettes," he noted.

Lastly, he called for the need to impose stricter regulation on tobacco product advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship, as these are what draw a lot of children to smoke in the first place.

He underscored the need for a clear road map that highlights a systematic, measured program to control the dangers of tobacco so as to achieve the health quality needed for realizing a Golden Indonesia 2045.

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Reporter: Mecca Yumna Ning Prisie
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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