Is Big Tobacco in US Targeting Youth in Indonesia?


PMI has claimed that it does not intentionally market to Indonesian youth, but in the years following PMI's entry into the Indonesian market, government statistics show youth smoking rates there have nearly doubled.

In this wild west environment, children face almost no obstacle to purchasing cigarettes. In Jakarta, where tobacco ads were plastered on billboards, ABC News witnessed an 8-year-old girl buying tobacco from a vendor in a busy public market.

In tiny Palembang, a remote fishing village in Eastern Java, an elderly man freely admitted that he introduced smoking to his grandson, Chairul, when he was barely of grade-school age. "It's all right," the man said, "as long as he drinks enough coffee with his cigarettes."

Not far from where Chairul lives, we found the original "smoking baby," whose name is Aldi Rizal. His mother said she never wanted him to pick up smoking, but that his withdrawal-fueled tantrums were too difficult to endure.

Photo of the Marlboro-branded kiosk located near a school in the capital city Jakarta before the brand logos were taken down. Credit: Chris Kilmer/ABC

Nearly a year after ABC News began its investigation, PMI did take down their brand logos on the kiosk outside the school in Jakarta.

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