Collaborative Efforts to Combat Youth Tobacco Use in Indonesia

In June 2023, Tulodo Indonesia, in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, embarked on a critical mission to tackle tobacco control issues among the youth in Indonesia. This comprehensive endeavor involved extensive formative research, including both quantitative and qualitative data collection conducted in 40 junior and senior high schools across Jakarta.

A diverse group of 19 individuals, including academics, practitioners from relevant tobacco control organizations, and local government representatives in DKI Jakarta, actively participated in the research. The workshop comprised notable organizations such as the National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komisi Nasional Pengendalian Tembakau), Indonesian Child Protection Agency/Lembaga Perlindungan Anak Indonesia – Tobacco Control (LPAI-TC), Yayasan Lentera Anak, Muhammadiyah Tobacco Control Center (MTCC, now STEPS), Health Office of DKI Jakarta, World Health Organization (WHO) Indonesia, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Indonesia, Muslimat NU, Forum Warga Kota Jakarta (FAKTA), Indonesian Youth Council For Tobacco Control (IYCTC), and academics from Universitas Indonesia, Universitas Gadjah Mada, and Universitas Semarang.

To delve deeper into the research findings and their practical applications, Tulodo organized an Advisory Group Meeting in Jakarta on June 15-16, 2023. This meeting brought together experts from various fields, setting the stage for a collaborative effort to combat youth tobacco use in the region.

The session commenced with an introduction by the Project Officer for Tulodo, who provided valuable insights into the foundations of social marketing theory and its core components.

The research findings presented during the meeting shed light on crucial data related to tobacco use among young people in Jakarta. Engaging discussions ensued, focusing on the prevalence of smoking and the challenges posed by the tobacco industry’s formidable resources.

A session led by another expert summarized the research findings and unveiled draft recommendations. The discussions revolved around the target cessation rate and the strategies required to attain it. Two specific target groups, “Wannabe Smokers” and “Indecisive Smokers,” emerged as focal points for intervention.

An evening session featured three video ethnographies, providing unique insights into the experiences of young individuals with tobacco. Participants applauded this storytelling approach and explored potential theoretical interpretations.

Group discussions were dynamic, with participants reviewing and offering feedback on the proposed recommendations. Suggestions included integrating data on cigarette advertising density and advocating against ad violations.

Another expert outlined a plan for disseminating the research findings and explored potential collaboration opportunities with stakeholders. The participants underscored the significance of training young individuals and employing engaging social media activities.

The Advisory Group Meeting served as a pivotal platform for presenting, discussing, and refining the formative research findings related to youth tobacco control in Indonesia. Participants played an active role in developing recommendations and emphasized the importance of targeted interventions.

As the meeting concluded, discussions centered on future collaborations and the dissemination of research findings. Tulodo remains steadfast in its commitment to addressing tobacco control challenges among young people and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure a brighter and healthier future for Indonesia’s youth. Together, we strive to empower the youth and create a tobacco-free generation.

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Heribertus Rinto Wibowo

A public health enthusiast, passionate about the science of health promotion, tobacco control and social determinants of health.

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