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Jakarta Post

'I'm a passive smoker': Sutopo leaves powerful warning against smoking before death

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya
    Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 9, 2019   /   11:57 am
'I'm a passive smoker': Sutopo leaves powerful warning against smoking before death Sutopo Purwo Nugroho is buried at Sasonolayu Public Cemetery, Siswodipuran village, Boyolali, Central Java. An atmosphere of emotion colored the funeral. JP / Ganug Nugroho Adi / vja / 19 (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi )

“Quit smoking. Remember this is not only for you. This is for your family, for your wife, for your children, for your husband, and many more,” the late Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, former National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson, said in a recorded video.

The video was recorded in an interview with #SuaraTanpaRokok, (Voices without Cigarettes), an anti-smoking campaign for active and passive smokers to stand up and join together in controlling tobacco.

It was made in November 2018, 10 months after the doctors told Sutopo that he had stage four lung cancer, seven months before he passed away in Guangzhou, China after more than a year battling cancer.

In the video, wearing a brown and red short-sleeved batik shirt, Sutopo looked thinner and paler, but he was still energetic answering the questions like he always did.

“I was shocked when I heard [the doctor’s diagnosis]. When I told my family, we all cried because we knew there was no cure for cancer,” Sutopo said.

The fact that he had lung cancer was shocking for Sutopo since he said he never smoked any cigarettes before.

“I am not a smoker. There are no smokers in my family. I also live a healthy lifestyle. (…) Maybe one of the causes [of the cancer] was because I am a passive smoker,” he said, adding that most of the staff at the BNPB headquarters were smokers.

Sutopo’s video was re-uploaded on Monday by #SuaraTanpaRokok on several media platforms. The posts garnered national attention and went viral.

As of Tuesday morning it has been viewed over 193,000 times on Facebook and over 53,000 times on Instagram and retweeted around 6,000 times on twitter.

Sutopo’s death has once more brought up in public the discussion of the dangers of smoking both for active and passive smokers.

“[Sutopo’s story] needs to be shared. Don’t make your cigarettes kill others,” a twitter user, @wilsondyanto, tweeted on Tuesday.

Today, around one third of Indonesians are smokers. The country’s total economic burden of cigarette smoking is estimated to be a striking Rp 600 trillion and the diseases attributed to smoking lead to no less than 200,000 deaths per year.

The 2013 Basic Health Survey showed that there were around 90 million passive smokers in Indonesia, around 12 million of whom are children aged 0 to 4 years old.

“For the young generation, especially children, please don’t smoke. Cigarettes advertisements are misleading. No one will think that you look cooler when you smoke,” Sutopo said in the video.