They’re at it Again
American rock bands continue to help sell tobacco to kids in developing countries
Posted by: Editor | Jun 7, 2011
The American rock bands Good Charlotte, 30 Seconds to Mars and Neon Trees are among a lineup of top musicians who are again acting as advertisers for Big Tobacco: They're scheduled to perform next month at Java Rockin' Land, Indonesia's largest and highest profile music event — sponsored by the cigarette company Gudang Garam.
Indonesia is one of the few countries in the world that has not ratified the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and smoking kills at least 200,000 people each year. Tobacco use among young people is devastating. Nearly a quarter of Indonesian boys between 13 and 15 smoke, and 79 percent of smokers in Indonesia start before they're 19.
The lineup for the concert includes other bands from countries such as Ireland, Britain and Australia, where the groups also would be barred from accepting tobacco sponsorships. These sponsorships have been shown to help entice young people to start smoking.
Musicians can — and do — stand up to the tobacco industry's marketing tactics. In April 2010, former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson removed tobacco advertising and sponsorship from her Jakarta concert. Similarly, Alicia Keys refused to play her 2008 Indonesian concert unless sponsorship and marketing from Philip Morris International's Sampoerna subsidiary was halted.
Visit Change.org to tell 30 Seconds to Mars, Neon Trees, Good Charlotte, as well as the other bands, to insist tobacco branding be removed from this festival or refuse to perform.
Are the lives of kids in Indonesia worth less than the lives of kids in the US? American musicians who aren't allowed to promote tobacco at home shouldn’t take this deadly act on the road.