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Indonesian Government Siding With Tobacco Companies?

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. 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 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.
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