Who's scared of tobacco warnings?

Most smokers will probably ignore the graphic health-warning images that the government plans to require tobacco companies to put on cigarette packs, suggesting the plan may be ineffective.

"I would still buy cigarettes even with the graphic images printed on the packs. In fact, I would intentionally buy them so I could feel that little bit cooler," 25-year-old art-student Nadia Kusumahdewi said to The Jakarta Post via a text-message.

She said the new draft regulation currently discussed by the government would do "very little" to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

Nadia said that the government should concentrate on enforcing the smoking ban in public places. Ikram Putra, a 28-year-old copy editor, separately said graphic images on cigarette packs would not stop him from buying them.

"I would only consider quitting smoking if the price was three times higher than the current price," he said, adding that currently most tobacco companies sold their brands of cigarettes at Rp12,000 (S$1.70) per pack.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Desiree, a radio announcer, said that she had already purchased cigarettes with grotesque images of cancer sufferers on their packaging whenever she was abroad, such as in Malaysia or Singapore.

"I still bought them even though their price was about Rp 80,000. I just didn't care," she said. A nonsmoker, Julia Adha Kaelani, 24, told the Post that smokers' awareness of public health would be more significant than countless government policies.

"If they [smokers] were truly aware of the health risks, they could print Mickey Mouse images on cigarette packs and they would still not buy them," she said.

Coordinating People's Welfare Minister Agung Laksono earlier told reporters in Jakarta that the government would instruct tobacco companies to include graphic health-warning images on at least 40 per cent of each side of cigarette packs.

He said the future regulation, which was in accordance with the 2009 Health Law, had to be carried out within two years of the law being passed.

However, the politician from the Golkar Party, the second largest party in the House of Representatives, declined to clarify when the government would introduce regulation.

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