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Comparison of tobacco import and tobacco control in five countries: lessons learned for Indonesia

Ahsan, A., Wiyono, N. H., Veruswati, M. , Adani, N., Kusuma, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-1909-9341 & Amalia, N. (2020). Comparison of tobacco import and tobacco control in five countries: lessons learned for Indonesia. Globalization and Health, 16(1), article number 65. doi: 10.1186/s12992-020-00595-y


Background: With a 264 million population and the second highest male smoking prevalence in the world, Indonesia hosted over 60 million smokers in 2018. However, the government still has not ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In the meantime, tobacco import increases rapidly in Indonesia. These create a double, public health and economic burden for Indonesia’s welfare.

Objective: Our study analyzed the trend of tobacco import in five countries: Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Also, we analyze the tobacco control policies implemented in these countries and determine some lessons learn for Indonesia.

Methods: We conducted quantitative analyses on tobacco production, consumption, export, and import during 1990–2016 in the five countries. Data were analyzed using simple ordinary least square regressions, correcting for time series autocorrelation. We also conducted a desk review on the tobacco control policies implemented in the five countries.

Results: While local production decreased by almost 20% during 1990–2016, the proportion of tobacco imports out of domestic production quadrupled from 17 to 65%. Similarly, the ratio of tobacco imports to exports reversed from 0.7 (i.e., exports were higher) to 2.9 (i.e., import were 2.9 times higher than export) in 1990 and 2016, respectively. This condition is quite different from the other four respective countries in the observation where their tobacco export is higher than the import. From the tobacco control point of view, the four other countries have ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Conclusion: The situation is unlikely for Indonesia to either reduce tobacco consumption or improve the local tobacco farmer’s welfare, considering that the number of imports continued to increase. Emulating from the four countries, Indonesia must ratify the FCTC and implement stricter tobacco control policies to decrease tobacco consumption and import.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: Tobacco import, Tobacco control, Indonesia
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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