Court Upholds Key Indonesian Tobacco-Control Laws

November 09, 2011

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Indonesia's Constitutional Court has upheld critical tobacco control related aspects of the country's 2009 Health Law, affirming that tobacco is indeed addictive and making it clear that pictorial warnings on cigarette packs are required and not just optional.

The ruling came on a challenge to the law backed by tobacco companies, which are politically powerful and have aggressively fought efforts to reduce tobacco use. The Indonesian government has lagged in implementing the law, bowing to the clout of tobacco interests.

The court decision means rigorous implementation of the law should go forward without delay.

'There are no more reasons to allow the industry to continue to influence our youth and lure them into smoking,' the Jakarta Globe said in an editorial endorsing the court's decision. 'The ruling paves the way for Indonesia to join the ranks of nations that have successfully limited the industry's ability and scope to market its products.'

Indonesia has one of the world's highest smoking rates, and a video of an addicted toddler chain-smoking shocked the world and gained widespread media attention. The Indonesian smoking epidemic is particularly severe among young people, and about a quarter of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 smoke.

Read more Tobacco Unfiltered coverage of Indonesia's tobacco epidemic.