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Anti-smoking campaign launched in Indonesian schools

Publication Date : 15-02-2013

 

The increasing number of smokers among junior and high school students has begun to concern some teachers so much that they have decided to include anti-smoking components in their civic education and physical exercise classes, in addition to what is already included in the formal curriculum.

Dozens of teachers from 41 schools in Jakarta gathered on Wednesday at a workshop initiated by youth-focused NGO Modernisator and the school of economics at Trisakti University to discuss how to deliver the campaign in classes.

“It is easier for physical training teachers to include the campaign in a healthy lifestyle session,” said education activist Retno Listyarti, the workshop’s facilitator.

But civic education teachers also had to find the best way and time to include the campaign in their classes, she said.

Retno said that schools usually discouraged students from smoking by merely imposing sanctions, ranging from warnings to suspensions, on those pupils found smoking in school areas.

“Such sanctions aren’t effective because students can still smoke outside school,” she said.

“Most students smoke because they feel bored or lacking in confidence,” she said, adding that 10 long hours of study per day at schools in Jakarta left many students feeling bored.

“Students also think that they look cool in front of friends and other people when they smoke,” she said, adding that high-achieving students rarely smoked.

The workshop was part of a one-year Youth Smoking Prevention Programme, which was launched in November 2012 by both the university and the NGO.

According to a survey conducted by both institutions between November and December 2012, 20.6 per cent of 1,435 student respondents in Jakarta were active smokers; 10.7 per cent were occasional smokers; and 68.7 per cent were non-smokers.

The head of the programme, Farah Margaretha, said the fact that child smokers were getting younger was worrying.

“One 11-year-old junior high school student, for example, could not remember when exactly he started smoking. That means that he started at a very young age,” she said, adding that 36.1 per cent of the survey’s respondents had said the same thing.

She said she hoped the programme would have a great impact on teachers, students and parents so that the number of teenage smokers would decrease.

 

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