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Jakarta Post

Expert warns about dangers of clove cigarettes

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, September 30, 2015   /  12:37 pm
Expert warns about dangers of clove cigarettes Dangerous product: The National Commission on Tobacco Control has criticized articles in a draft bill on culture that recognize kretek (clove cigarettes) as Indonesia’s cultural heritage. (Illustration courtesy of kompas.com)

Dangerous product: The National Commission on Tobacco Control has criticized articles in a draft bill on culture that recognize kretek (clove cigarettes) as Indonesia'€™s cultural heritage. (Illustration courtesy of kompas.com)

National Commission on Tobacco Control head Priyo Sidipratomo has said that several articles that acknowledged clove cigarettes, locally known as kretek, as Indonesia'€™s cultural heritage, must be removed from a culture draft bill being deliberated at the House of Representatives.

'€œHow can we include such a dangerous thing in a draft bill on culture,'€ he said as quoted by kompas.com on Wednesday. The anti-tobacco activist was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a tobacco-control advertisement in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Clove cigarettes are Indonesia'€™s traditional flavored cigarettes, which blend tobacco, cloves and other flavors. The problem is cigarettes contain many poisonous substances and are dangerous to the health of users and others who breath in their smoke.

The culture draft bill and a draft tobacco affairs bill have been included in the 2015-2019 National Legislation (Prolegnas).

Priyo called for the removal of the draft tobacco affairs bill from Prolegnas 2015-2019 due to the dangers of tobacco use.

'€œTobacco is not a product that is essential for the livelihood of society. Clearly, cigarette smoking can cause addiction. How can we list it as Indonesia'€™s cultural heritage? It would be better for all House members to consider the facts [of the dangers of cigarette smoking],'€ he said.

Priyo said that instead of supporting pro-cigarette smoking regulations, the government should strive to protect younger generations from the dangers of cigarettes by, among other measures, ratifying the World Health Organization'€™s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

He also said the government should increase cigarette taxes as much as possible, even up to 85 percent as seen in Brunei Darussalam.

The head of the Health Ministry'€™s health promotion center, Eni Gustina, said the ministry had sent a letter to the Law and Human Rights Ministry calling for the removal of Article 37 on clove cigarettes from the culture draft bill.

In the article, traditional kretek is acknowledged as the cultural and historical heritage of Indonesia that both the government and local administrations must acknowledge, respect and protect.

Meanwhile, Article 49 of the draft bill states that traditional kretek protection can be conducted in various ways such as documentation and the creation of an inventory; kretek development; kretek publications; and festivals. (ebf)

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