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Tobacco industry has sights set on Indonesia, says expert

A professor of public health at the University of Indonesia’s School of Public Health, Hasbullah Thabrany, has warned that Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest consumers of tobacco and as yet not a signatory to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and with few regulations restricting children’s access to cigarettes, has become a main target for the tobacco industry.

“It seems that we are in a battle ground, where tobacco company owners are among the country’s richest people, making money from poor people addicted to their product,” Hasbullah said.

The National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komnas PT), together with civil and health groups concerned with tobacco control in Indonesia, has urged the government to ignore pressure from the tobacco industry, including pressure applied via the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC).

The ITIC is widely seen to directly and indirectly fight for the cigarette industry’s agenda.

Hasbullah said that if the government wished to regain its sovereignty over the economy, as stipulated in the Nawa Cita (President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s nine-point development program), Indonesia must instead implement a pro-people economic policy

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