JAKARTA, June 24 Cigarette manufactures in
Indonesia, one of the world's biggest tobacco markets, began
printing graphic health warnings on packets on Tuesday, but they
have yet to appear in shops and the companies involved do not
seem too worried about plunging sales.
Indonesia, home to the pungent "kretek" clove and tobacco
cigarette, has joined the ranks of countries across the world
enforcing stricter anti-tobacco laws to deter smoking,
especially among youth.
But tobacco companies appeared undeterred by the potential
impact on sales in Southeast Asia's largest economy, where one
in every five people smokes.
"It seems like the health warning does not have a
significant impact on sales in the countries that have
implemented this. We shall see if it will have any impact on our
sales," said Surjanto Yasaputera, corporate secretary of PT
Wismilak Inti Makmur, a small cigarette manufacturer.
"Our target is to increase that by 20 percent to 25 percent
this year. For now we still maintain this target."
Australia introduced strict packaging rules in 2012, with a
combination of graphic photos of smoker ailments overlaid on
plain brown packs with no branding or logos.
But deliveries of tobacco to retailers in Australia rose
slightly last year for the first time in at least five years.
Australia is being closely watched for signs of success as
other nations including Ireland, New Zealand and Britain explore
Tobacco is responsible for six million deaths a year and the
World Health Organisation estimates that number could rise
beyond eight million by 2030.
As well as causing cancer and other chronic respiratory
conditions, smoking is also a major contributor to
cardiovascular diseases, the world's No. 1 killer.
(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy and Kanupriya Kapoor; Additional
reporting by Lincoln Feast in Sydney; Editing by Nick Macfie)