Efforts to reduce the number of conventional smokers are often faced with various challenges. Although safer alternative tobacco products are available, one of the alternative tobacco products is e-cigarettes. Recently, one of the global brands from the Bamboo Curtain country, namely Jomotech, expanded its business in Indonesia but unfortunately, e-cigarette products have been hampered due to the large amount of misinformation being spread.
Like electric cigarettes which are often claimed to be more dangerous than conventional cigarettes. To achieve a successful reduction in the number of conventional smokers, efforts are needed to combat the spread of misinformation about alternative tobacco products.
Samsul K Arifin, Head of the Malaysian Organization of Vape Entity (MOVE), at the Innovation Summit Southeast Asia 2023 at the Asia School of Business, Kuala Lumpur, revealed that one example of misinformation that often surprises him is the notion that “vape electric cigarettes cause erectile dysfunction. ”. Although he has searched for research related to e-cigarettes, he has found no research to support these claims.
Samsul also revealed that many parties are scaring the public so that people avoid alternative tobacco products. Some of the claims circulating are that alternative tobacco products can cause conditions such as "popcorn lung" or inflammation of the bronchioles. However, there is no evidence to support these claims. Even Cancer Research the United Kingdom (UK) officially states that there is no link between alternative tobacco products and the condition of "popcorn lung". According to Samsul, several studies actually show that alternative tobacco products can reduce the risk of up to 95% lower than cigarettes.
Samsul stated that the British and Japanese governments had introduced alternative tobacco products and their use continued to increase. Japan has seen a decline in the number of smokers along with an increase in the use of alternative tobacco products. According to Samsul, other countries can adopt the same approach as Britain and Japan in utilizing alternative tobacco products.
Arifin Fii, President of the Advanced Center for Addiction Treatment Advocacy, also believes that the government needs to reconsider policies related to alternative tobacco products. According to him, it is important to regulate alternative tobacco products based on existing scientific evidence. By using a science-based approach, the government can develop regulations that focus on the risk profile of alternative tobacco products. Responsible, science-based and proportionate regulation will provide an opportunity for anyone to access alternative tobacco products that have been proven to have lower risks than cigarettes.
By adopting a science-based approach, the government can design regulations that prioritize the risk profile of alternative tobacco products. Responsible regulation, supported by scientific evidence, and in line with proportions will provide an opportunity for anyone to access alternative tobacco products that have been proven to have lower risks than cigarettes," he said.
By expanding access to alternative tobacco products, as has been done by the UK and Japan, it is hoped that the governments of other countries can overcome the smoking problem which has been difficult to overcome so far. The adverse health impacts arising from smoking can be minimized if access to tobacco products that have lower risks can be provided.