Eva Susanti, S. Kp., M.K., Director of P2PTM (Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases) at the Indonesian Ministry of Health, said there has been a significant increase in the use of e-cigarettes in Indonesia, with the highest age range of Indonesian smokers (both traditional and e-smokers) being 15-19 years old at 56.5%. Then, the 10-14 age group accounted for 18.4%, and the 13-15 age group accounted for 19.2%.

The number of child smokers in Indonesia is the same as the population of Singapore, and Indonesia is a particularly populous country. The same is true of the child population. But who would have thought, the number of children smoking in Indonesia is surprising. “Because we do have a large population, including the child population, and of course the number (of children who smoke) is very high. We have as many child smokers as the population of Singapore.” Eva explained with concern. This is a wake-up call for all segments of society and we must work together to reduce this number. Eva further explained that if it is not followed up immediately, she is concerned that Indonesia is not ready to face the demographic dividend in 2030.

The large increase in the number of child smokers in Indonesia, especially e-cigarettes, has been heavily influenced by Internet and social media advertising. Eva says that mentally immature children are more susceptible to influence when exploring the Internet and social media. “If we look at the survey results, about 60 percent of children smoke because of exposure to advertising and misinformation on the Internet.” If children do not get help from their parents when using the Internet and social media, the situation is bound to get worse.