Updated in March 2020
Referring to its official website, KABAR (Indonesia Tar-Free Coalition) is a coalition of health professional organizations founded in 2017 by Public Health Observer Foundation (YPKP), Indonesia Dentists Association (PDGI), Indonesia Community Medicine Physicians and Public Health Association (PDK3MI), and Indonesia Oncologists Association (POI). Two other organizations, the Indonesian Vapor Entrepreneurs Association (APVI), and Tar-Free Foundation, according to the information from media reports are also known as KABAR founders. While the coalition began actively promoting their campaign, It was later revealed that PDGI and POI’s involvement as a member was KABAR’s one-sided claim. The same case also happened to Indonesian Pharmacists Association (IAI) in 2020, and all this organization’s name was eventually removed from KABAR’s website following a complaint from the organizations. Currently, the coalition only consists of two members: YPKP and PDK3MI. APVI is listed as one of KABAR’s donors. On the other hand, the information on the Tar-Free Foundation is not sufficiently available.
Relationship with The Tobacco Industry
Apart from the financial support received directly from PT. HM Sampoerna, the coalition’s close ties with the tobacco industry are also indicated by its coalition members. YPKP is known for its aggressive promotion of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products., Meanwhile, PDK3MI from time to time appeared in the media touting the benefits of nicotine and alternative tobacco products as a solution to reducing smoking prevalence., Even though the coalition is meant for health professional organizations, yet YPKP is not one of them.
The coalition received funds from 3 sources: PT. HM Sampoerna, APVI, and Gandeng Tangan Foundation. PT. HM Sampoerna and APVI as a producer of heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes business associations respectively have a major interest on how the product’s issue plays out., Meanwhile, information on Gandeng Tangan Foundation remains unavailable.
Lobbying against Tobacco Control measures
The coalition shows its support for alternative tobacco products by exploiting health messages such as the hazardous effect of Tar to health, claiming that nicotine is not harmful, and promoting alternative tobacco products as a solution to reduce Indonesia’s smoking prevalence. The coalition’s voice essentially echoes what YPKP and APVIs’ delivered in the media.,
In March 2019, KABAR collaborated with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Reform Studies (Chapters) to organize a public discussion in Jakarta on tobacco harm reduction policy in support of alternative tobacco products. A similar event also held in several other cities such as Bandung, Bali, Palembang, and Jogjakarta.,