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Tobacco control policy in Indonesia is, by international standards, very rudimentary. Weak regulation has made Indonesia a ‘place of freedom’ for tobacco companies. Tobacco advertising and promotion is rampant and has been described as being ‘above the law’ and the ‘most aggressive and innovative in the world’.1 2 Tobacco advertisements are highly visible in all media (electronic, print and public billboards and displays),3 4 and have contributed to the increased prevalence of smoking among young Indonesians. From 2006 to 2009 the prevalence among boys aged 13 to 15 nearly doubled from 24.5% to 41%, and nearly tripled from 2.3% to 6.2% among girls of the same age group.5 6
PT HM Sampoerna Tbk, one of the largest Indonesian tobacco companies, now owned by Philip Morris International, is known for its longstanding creativity in advertising, promotion and marketing. In the early 1930s, the founder of the company changed his family and his company name to Sampoerna, which means ‘perfect’ or ‘perfection’ in Indonesian. This name is also used in branding some of the company's non-tobacco products. In 2005, Hendra Lesmono, the creative director for the company proclaimed that Sampoerna's success was due to the production of unusual tobacco advertisements, such as ‘satirical ads that poke fun at aspects of Indonesian society’.7 8 In pursuit of its mission that Sampoerna products be perceived as the best smoking experience for …
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