| November 14, 2013

Copies of a national newspaper featuring a half-page tobacco advertisement on its front page were given away at an event held by Indonesia’s Health Ministry to commemorate National Health Day on Nov. 12, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

The seemingly inappropriate gift was handed out at a time when the ministry is pushing the trade, industry and manpower and transmigration ministries to agree to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which encourages countries to ban tobacco advertisements.

Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi voiced her surprise that the newspaper was given, along with a snack box, to almost all of the ceremony attendees.

Nafsiah was not pleased with the ceremony’s organizing committee, but she was quick to shift the blame from the ministry to the tobacco industry. The ministry had not intended to promote smoking by giving away the newspaper, she said, before adding: “This shows how aggressive cigarette companies can be, as they will avail of any opportunity to promote their products.”

“Let’s just focus on the positive side,” she continued. “Look at the health warning stated on the bottom of the ad. This is what will happen if you smoke. ‘Smoking can cause cancer, heart attacks, impotence and is harmful to pregnancy and fetal development.’”

Category: Breaking News

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