Public evaluation of the ethics of tobacco marketing in Indonesia: Symbiotic ethical approach

Nathalia C. Tjandra, Lukman Aroean, Yayi S. Prabandari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This article aims to explore the public evaluation of the ethics of marketing tobacco in Indonesia through the theoretical lens of normative ethics. Design/methodology/approach: The present study adopted a symbiotic ethical approach which combined normative and positive ethical approaches. The data was collected in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from six focus groups and thirty photo elicitation interviews with a total of 71 participants. Findings: The thematic analysis has identified six main themes, economic contribution of the tobacco industry, harmful nature of tobacco products, tobacco marketing targeting vulnerable groups, covering the danger of smoking, intention and integrity of tobacco marketers and infringement of law and social norms. Adopting the theoretical lens of utilitarianism, deontology, contractarianism and virtue ethics, the analysis illustrates that most participants believed that tobacco marketing practices in Indonesia are unethical. Policy implications: The findings of the study were disseminated in a public engagement event to stakeholders in Yogyakarta. The findings influenced the development of No Smoking Area monitoring instrument and the introduction of “Free from Tobacco Advertisement in No Smoking Area” policy in Sleman Regency, Yogyakarta. Originality/value: Indonesia, with its lenient regulatory environment, provides a unique setting for investigating public evaluation of the ethics of tobacco marketing. This is one of the first studies that investigates public evaluation of tobacco marketing ethics in Indonesia through the theoretical lens of utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics and contractarianism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-626
Number of pages24
JournalQualitative Market Research
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020


  • tobacco marketing;
  • normative ethics;
  • symbiotic ethics;
  • Indonesia

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