20 July 2024
Kretek Indonesian Cigarette: A Complex Market

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The Rise of Kretek: A Unique Indonesian Cigarette

In Indonesia, the prevalence of smoking is starkly evident in the daily lives of its citizens. Marina Welker’s research in Malang, East Java, shed light on the pervasive nature of cigarette advertising along ordinary streets, with her children passing numerous cigarette ads during their short walk to school. This reflects the deep-rooted smoking culture in Indonesia, the second-largest cigarette market globally, where over 300 billion cigarettes are consumed annually, leading to the deaths of more than a quarter-million Indonesians each year. Notably, clove-infused cigarettes known as kretek dominate the market, making up 95% of cigarette sales in the country. The term “kretek” refers to the crackling sound produced when cloves burn, distinguishing these cigarettes as a unique cultural phenomenon in Indonesia.

The Significance of Kretek in Indonesian Culture

Marina Welker’s exploration of the tobacco industry in Indonesia delves into the intricate relationship between kretek manufacturers, global tobacco technologies, and the Indonesian labor force. The allure of kretek lies in its distinct aroma, derived from the infusion of cloves, which sets it apart from conventional cigarettes. Kretek enthusiasts, often associated with “kretek nationalist” movements, emphasize the cultural heritage and economic significance of these cigarettes, portraying them as a vital component of local economies and traditions.

Despite the romanticization of kretek as an indigenous and artisanal product, the industry’s adoption of global tobacco strategies and technologies reveals a complex narrative. From mechanization and advertising to leveraging social media influencers, the kretek industry mirrors tactics employed by Big Tobacco on a global scale. This juxtaposition of tradition and modernity underscores the multifaceted nature of kretek within Indonesia’s socio-economic landscape.

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Published on: October 26, 2015 Description: Kretek are famous and very popular clove cigarettes in Indonesia. But they considered more harmful then another cigarettes.
kretek the most harmful cigarettes in the world

Challenges and Controversies Surrounding Kretek

The success of the kretek industry in Indonesia is not devoid of controversy and challenges. While the country has refrained from ratifying the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the industry continues to thrive, perpetuating a culture of smoking through pervasive advertising and lax regulations. The narrative of kretek nationalism often clashes with global health initiatives, creating a tension between cultural pride and public health concerns.

Moreover, gender dynamics within the smoking culture of Indonesia reveal disparities and injustices. The pressure on men to smoke as a symbol of masculinity, coupled with the disproportionate impact on women’s health and household economies, underscores the broader societal implications of smoking in Indonesia. Class divides further exacerbate the issue, with lower-income individuals bearing a disproportionate burden of the consequences associated with smoking.

Towards a Balanced Perspective on Kretek and Public Health

Addressing the complexities surrounding kretek and its impact on Indonesian society requires a nuanced approach that balances cultural heritage with public health imperatives. While the industry’s economic contributions are undeniable, the need for stringent tobacco control measures and public health awareness is paramount. Initiatives that challenge the normalization of smoking, particularly among youth and marginalized populations, are crucial in combating the pervasive influence of the kretek industry.

By fostering a dialogue that acknowledges the cultural significance of kretek while advocating for health equity and tobacco control, Indonesia can navigate the intricate landscape of smoking culture with a more holistic and inclusive approach. Moving forward, a concerted effort to address the social, economic, and health dimensions of kretek consumption is essential in shaping a more sustainable and equitable future for all Indonesians.

Links to additional Resources:

1. The Conversation 2. National Center for Biotechnology Information 3. ScienceDirect

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Kretek (cigarette), Smoking in Indonesia, Tobacco control in Indonesia

Kretek () are cigarettes of Indonesian origin, made with a blend of tobacco, cloves, and other flavors. It could be with filter or unfiltered. The word "kretek" itself is an onomatopoetic term for the crackling sound of burning cloves. Partly due to favorable taxation compared to filtered "white" cigarettes, kreteks...
Read more: Kretek

Smoking in Indonesia
There are approximately 57 million smokers in Indonesia, among a population of 273 million people. Around 63% of men and 5% of women report smoking, equating to 34% of the population. The majority, 88% of Indonesian smokers, use clove-flavoured kreteks. Kretek manufacturers directly employ over 180,000 people in Indonesia and...
Read more: Smoking in Indonesia

Tobacco control
Tobacco control is a field of international public health science, policy and practice dedicated to addressing tobacco use and thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality it causes. Since most cigarettes and cigars and hookahs contain/use tobacco, tobacco control also concerns these. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco itself, but (often) do...
Read more: Tobacco control

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