United States-based Juul Labs is exploring selling its compact vaping devices in Asia and has sounded out government officials in Indonesia, one of the world's most smoker-friendly countries, although gaining approval there could face significant hurdles. (Reuters Photo/Lucas Jackson)

Study Shows E-Cigarettes Much Safer Than Conventional Tobacco


NOVEMBER 09, 2017

Jakarta. Electronic cigarettes are much safer and less toxic than conventional tobacco, according to the findings of a study that analyzed the levels of dangerous substances in such products.

Achmad Syawqie Yazid, founder of the Indonesian Public Health Observers Foundation (YPKP), said on Thursday (09/11) that many people still do not understand the effects of alternatives, such as nicotine pastes, snus, e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

"In fact, those [e-cigarettes] have been clinically proven as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, which have harmful effects," he said in a statement.

Syawqie, who is also a lecturer in dentistry at Padjajaran University in Bandung, West Java, said his foundation has conducted independent research into the use of e-cigarettes and their impact on consumers' health.

"The study shows that these alternative products have a much lower health impact than the consumption of conventional smoking tobacco products," he said.

Syawqie added that e-cigarettes do not contain the harmful substances, such as tar and toxins, found in tobacco smoke.

Echoing his statement, Greek cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos, who has also done research on the effects of e-cigarettes, said alternative tobacco products can potentially save millions of lives.

Farsalinos said he has studied the cytotoxic effects of e-cigarettes on brain cells and the direct effects on heart function and coronary circulation.

"Our study shows that the risky effect of e-cigarettes is much lower than conventional tobacco smoking," he said.

He cited a recent study by Georgetown University's Medical Center in the United States, which reached a similar conclusion. The study showed that more than 6.6 million people could be saved from premature death through e-cigarette therapy.

Dimas Jeremia, chairman of Ministry of Vape Indonesia, an online marketplace for e-cigarettes and related products, meanwhile said the trend of e-cigarette consumption, especially vaping, is on the rise in Asia.

Nearly half of the world's smokers are reportedly in Asia, including Indonesia.

According to The Tobacco Atlas published by the World Health Organization, there were 90 million smokers in Indonesia in 2016, with the number expected to continue rising.

"More smokers have become aware of the harmful effects of tar, which makes them move to e-cigarettes. This is a positive sign," Dimas said.

He urged the government to create greater public awareness of the fact that e-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes.