Indonesia have one of the world’s highest smoking rates, with 63% of adult men smoking, and the Government is facing criticism for siding with tobacco firms and trying to extinguish the vaping sector.
A pack of cigarettes costs just $2 in Indonesia, and reportedly, cigarette advertising is everywhere across the vast Indonesian archipelago.
As many areas in the world, including the UK and Europe, seem to be adopting a more anti-smoking approach, Indonesia seem to be doing the opposite, allowing tobacco firms to grow in the market.
Enca.com reports that, despite e-cigarettes and smoking cessation products being hard to find, vaping cafes have been opening across the country.
In the summer, Jakarta will be slapping a 57% tax on tobacco alternatives.
“I do believe that the policy sides with the [tobacco] industry,” said Hasbullah Thabrany, health expert and advisor for the National Commission on Tobacco Control.
Rhomedal Aquino is a spokesman for the Association of Indonesian Personal Vaporizers and said that whilst they believe that there should be a tax plan for control consumption, the upcoming 57% implementation is too high, arguing that it will kill the industry.
“It will make us look like a killing machine when we’re not,” added Aquino.
There have been numerous reports and surveys across the world that have showed e-cigs are healthier than smoking. Recently, a 24-month study found no long-term adverse effects from e-cig use.
Despite this, senior ministry official Muhammad Subuh insists that there is no such thing as a healthier alternative to smoking, arguing that e-cigs are just as dangerous and can be ever more carcinogenic.