Solo says no to tobacco

Young people in Surakarta join colourful anti-smoking campaign.

By Yenny Herawati for Khabar Southeast Asia in Surakarta

June 25, 2014
Reset Text smaller larger

Thirty thousand handprints covered the banner, which measured 15m wide by 27m long. They symbolised calls for Indonesians to quit smoking or consuming tobacco in other ways.

  • Youths in Solo, Indonesia join an anti-smoking campaign during World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. [Yenny Herawati/Khabar]

    Youths in Solo, Indonesia join an anti-smoking campaign during World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. [Yenny Herawati/Khabar]

Residents of Surakarta, many of them young people, created the banner to mark the city's World No Tobacco Day gathering on May 31st.

"We collected as many as 30,000 handprints to refresh our commitment to oppose tobacco," said 16-year old participant Yuli Nindyawati."I think this is a good activity not only for youth, but for everyone to remind us of the dangers of tobacco use."

The local government, various non-governmental organisations, health practitioners, educators and students supported the event, sponsored by the Community of Lung Health (BBKPM) and the Hospital Association of the Lung Health Centre in Surakarta.

Surakarta Deputy Mayor Ahmad Purnomo was among those who rallied and spoke out against the dangers of lighting up.

"I invite the people of Surakarta to stay away from cigarettes," he said. "Let's get used to a healthy lifestyle. I encourage everyone to give up smoking. We can do this because we care for each other."

Surakarta resident Riana Dewi, 29, agreed, expressing her pleasure with the all-out effort to help people break the habit.

"It is wrong to say that smoking is part of our culture, especially after we know all of the negative impacts for ourselves and for those around us that we love?" Riana asked.

Award-winning banner

According to Surakarta Chief Medical Officer Wahyuningsih Siti, handprints were collected on the banner beginning on May 25th. The creators received an award from the Indonesia World Record Museum (MURI) on June 1st.

The local government provides a special programme aimed at reducing the impact of cigarette smoke, Wahyuningsih said. Since 2011, city offices provide smoking areas for active smokers. There are now 25 such smoker-designated areas, she said.

The government began enforcing a smoking ban during its Car-Free Day on Jalan Slamet Riyadi, held every Sunday morning. Its health message to youths is clear.

"We should continue to remind our children. This effort will be important to help Indonesia's future," Surakarta regional secretary Budi Suharto said.

Add A Comment (Comments Policy)* denotes required field



The most important issue in Indonesia's presidential election is:

Photo Essay

Mariyah Nibosu, whose husband was shot dead in 2009 by unknown gunmen, stands outside her home in September 2013 in the state-run 'widows' village' of Rotan Batu, 20km from Narathiwat. "Women suffer a lot here," she said. "But we are strong. We have to feed our children by ourselves. We have to survive." [Christophe Archambault/AFP]

As Thailand's Deep South insurgency drags on, families suffer, persevere