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Oh Really? Tobacco-Sponsored Indonesia Jazz Festival Now Claims It’s Opposed to Youth Smoking

February 27, 2013

The Java Jazz festival kicks off this Friday in Jakarta, Indonesia. It's one of the largest annual music festivals in the world, and concert promoters have spent the last few months promoting the stars who will perform. But they've promoted tobacco even more.

What are the biggest words on Java Jazz's official poster and billboards? It's not 'Java Jazz.' It's not the names of star performers. It's a brand of cigarettes made by Djarum, the tobacco company sponsoring the music festival.

After plastering the streets of Jakarta and the internet with images of celebrities and Djarum’s Super Mild cigarettes, a tiny line has appeared on an official poster that says: 'Djarum, along with Java Jazz artists, are opposed to kids smoking cigarettes.'

The truth: Such concerts are very effective at marketing cigarettes to kids by associating them with popular events and performers. Tobacco companies need new youth smokers to replace their customers who get sick and die from smoking-related disease.

If past tobacco-sponsored events are any guide, Djarum will hand out free samples of cigarettes, bombard concert-goers with images that make smoking look fun and cool, and make sure their logo appears with every celebrity. One tiny line on a poster can't hide the obvious.

Many countries, including the U.S., ban tobacco companies from sponsoring concerts and other events, but not Indonesia. The result is that an estimated 78 percent of current Indonesian smokers started before the age of 19.

Java Jazz is an egregious example of U.S. and other internationally-known performers helping tobacco companies market their deadly products to kids. Visit Tune Out Tobacco to tell artists they should refuse to perform at tobacco-sponsored events and not allow their images or music to be used to promote tobacco.