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MARLBORO BOYS 

INDONESIA (2014-2015)

Indonesia’s relationship with tobacco is complex. Cheap cigarettes, ubiquitous advertising, a powerful lobby with tight political connections and lack of law enforcement fuels a national addiction. 


Indonesia holds one of the world’s highest rates of male smokers and it often begins at a young age. Boys are growing up in an environment where demand for tobacco is strong and foreign tobacco giants such as Marlboro maker Philip Morris, are establishing themselves as smoking rates decline in other countries. 


With the fifth largest tobacco market internationally, the industry is tied to the country’s economy and that industry relies on consumption. Indonesia remains one of the few countries that has not joined the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization which aims “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.” 


Young smokers begin the cycle of addiction but at a health cost for generations to come. The juxtaposition of young boys smoking like seasoned addicts is jarring yet this project is intended to not only shock and inform viewers but to demonstrate the lack of enforcement of national health regulations and to question the country’s dated relationship with tobacco.


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Five-year-old Ardian Azka Mubarok smokes at his home in  Garut, Indonesia on March 27, 2015. (Photo By: Michelle Siu)
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Wawan, 15 years, who started smoking last year, has a cigarette on on March 27, 2015.  His father smokes and he receives money from his parents for cigarettes. (Photo By: Michelle Siu)
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DEPOK, INDONESIA - Mar. 25, 2015: Jodi Hermawan, 15, who started smoking two years ago, smokes next to his neighbour and mother. His family is considered middle-class. His favourite cigarettes are Gudang Garam Filter.
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Muhammad Taufik Hidayat, 14, who has smoked since he was 11 years old, has a cigarette on March 25, 2015. (Photo By: Michelle Siu)
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Tarno Or Owong  smokes a few cigarettes per day and his favourite brand is Samporna Mild on March 26, 2015. (Photo By: Michelle Siu)
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INDONESIA - Mar. 27, 2015 : ..
INDONESIA - Mar. 27, 2015 : ..
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