JAKARTA - Excessively high excise rates and restrictions on access through strict regulations will make it difficult to realize the transition of adult smokers from conventional cigarettes to alternative tobacco products such as heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes.
The government must also be careful in drafting laws and regulations on alternative tobacco products so that the target of reducing the number of smokers in Indonesia can decrease significantly
"The application of the excise that is too high, namely 57 percent, makes the price of alternative tobacco products in Indonesia seem very premium. This is because alternative tobacco raw materials are still expensive, far above conventional cigarettes," said Chairman of the Indonesian Vaper Alliance (AVI) Johan Sumantri, in his statement. in Jakarta, quoted from Antara, Thursday, April 29.
In a virtual discussion "Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR): Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Burning Issues for Asia", Johan said that it is difficult to reduce smokers' popularity in Indonesia, partly because the price of alternative electronic tobacco devices is still high.
"Apart from the cost of alternative tobacco products that are burdensome to consumers, this condition also burdens business actors because of the lack of government support," said Johan.
For this reason, he said, alternative tobacco products must be used by governments in lower middle income countries with high numbers of smokers to reduce the prevalence of smoking.
He is of the opinion that currently the Indonesian government has not maximized alternative tobacco products because it is still awaiting scientific studies.
"The results of the scientific study must be disseminated to the public. We from the association are also ready to help provide accurate information to adult smokers and users of alternative tobacco products," he said.
In addition, Johan hopes that the government can take the right and fast steps in overcoming the cigarette problem in Indonesia.
"The cigarette problem in Indonesia must be resolved immediately, one of which is through the use of alternative tobacco products. The government must be open to this," he said.
Meanwhile, another speaker at the discussion, spokesman for Vaper AKO Philippines Joaqui Gallardo, said affordability in accessing alternative tobacco products was a key element in encouraging adult smokers to switch to tobacco products that were lower in risk than cigarettes.
According to him, it is important for every government to see the benefits of reducing the dangers of tobacco and consider this in drafting legislation on alternative tobacco products.
"The government in each country has a crucial role to play in creating these key elements," he said.
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