Global Implementation Programme launches in Indonesia

The Union’s Global Implementation Programme, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, has officially launched in its first two cities, Yogyakarta and Depok City, Indonesia.

At the launch events, Yogyakarta and Depok City Mayors publicly committed to improve the implementation of smokefree laws, as well as implementation of point of sale tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans in Depok City.

Many countries, including Indonesia, have made huge progress in tobacco control in recent years by adopting strong policies recommended by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Yet poor compliance rates mean that these policies are not protecting people in the way that they should.

Compliance surveys conducted in the initial phase of the programme by The Union’s partner, Johns Hopkins University, have shown that in both Yogyakarta and Depok City, compliance with smokefree laws is low, particularly in the hospitality sector and in many government buildings. For example, in both cities, none of the surveyed billiard halls or karaoke lounges and less than 20% of unlicensed restaurants, internet cafés and coffee shops were compliant. In Depok City, the majority of traditional markets were not compliant with the tobacco product display ban and point of sale advertising.

The results of the compliance surveys were announced at the events in Yogyakarta and Depok City, and city leaders declared their commitment to improving compliance with these important policies to protect citizens from the health impact of tobacco, which kills 225,720 Indonesians each year (WHO 2018).                                                                   

“Both cities have fairly comprehensive smokefree laws,” said Dr Tara Singh Bam, Deputy Director for the Asia Pacific region at The Union.

“Yet exposure to secondhand smoke is still extremely high in both cities because these laws are poorly enforced. The leadership of the Mayors in both cities is critical to ensure a whole-of-government approach to creating smokefree environments in all public places and work places. The Global Implementation Programme will help to de-normalise tobacco and make smoking less socially acceptable in the community, ultimately leading to a reduction in secondhand smoke exposure.”

The Union is providing technical assistance and capacity building to Yogyakarta and Depok City to implement the programme. The Union has supported both cities to establish a “smokefree task force,” comprised of representatives from all relevant government agencies, including health, education, tourism, civil police and the law bureau. The Union is also supporting the cities to train task force officers, institute a robust monitoring mechanism including regular compliance surveys, and to engage the media to promote smokefree policies and garner public support.

The Global Implementation Programme will also launch soon in cities in China, India and Pakistan. In addition to the programme activity in each city, a global resource hub is being developed to share learning, tools, resources and case studies with other cities and countries worldwide.