Apr. 22 2010
Washington, D.C. — For the past several weeks, international public health groups and fans of Kelly Clarkson, the U.S. singer and American Idol winner, have urged her to withdraw tobacco industry sponsorship of her April 29 concert in Jakarta, Indonesia. Today, we are pleased that Ms. Clarkson and her promoters have done the right thing and announced that they are cancelling the tobacco sponsorship and removing tobacco-branded billboards and other promotions related to the concert.
We thank Ms. Clarkson's many fans of all ages who posted hundreds of Facebook messages and sent thousands of e-mails urging that she reject the tobacco sponsorship. The public outcry sends a powerful message to all entertainers that they should not be involved in marketing tobacco products, which spread death and disease throughout the world. When entertainers participate in such sponsorships, they become spokespeople for the tobacco industry and help to market cigarettes and other tobacco products to children.
We call on all members of the music and entertainment industry, including performers and promoters, to adopt policies of rejecting all tobacco sponsorships and promotions. We also call on tobacco companies to immediately cease all such sponsorships and promotions.
This incident also underscores the need for Indonesia's government to ratify the international tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and to enact strong tobacco control legislation, including a ban on all tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships, as required by the treaty. Indonesia is a target of massive tobacco marketing, including concert sponsorships, because it is one of the few countries that has yet to ratify the treaty and it has weak tobacco control laws.
Approximately 35 percent of the Indonesian population smokes, and tobacco use kills more than 200,000 Indonesians each year. An estimated 78 percent of Indonesian smokers started before the age of 19.
Ms. Clarkson's Jakarta concert has been sponsored and heavily promoted by the tobacco company PT Djarum under the name of its cigarette brand LA Lights. Television, billboard and online ads for the concert feature her image and the LA Lights logo and even carry health warnings, making clear they are cigarette ads (to see an ad image and letters sent by public health organizations to Ms. Clarkson, go to www.tobaccofreekids.org/kellyclarkson). Promoter Java Musikindo should quickly follow through in pulling down all of the advertisements.
Ms. Clarkson is not the first artist to face protests over tobacco sponsorship. In July 2008, Alicia Keys' Jakarta concert was initially sponsored by “A Mild” cigarettes, which is produced by Philip Morris International and its Indonesian subsidiary Sampoerna. When this was brought to her attention, Keys spoke out against the sponsorship and had related advertising removed.
Such sponsorships are banned in the United States and many other countries.