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Vaping

FDA’s Authorization Of Vuse Solo Is A Bittersweet Victory For Vapers

On October 12th, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of the Vuse Solo device — a type of e-cigarette — and its tobacco-flavored e-liquid pods, both produced by R.J. Reynolds. The authorization marks the first-ever decision in favor of vaping by the FDA. Preceded by over a million rejections of authorization requests from smaller companies, the FDA’s Vuse Solo decision is both a reason for celebration and reflection. 

The good news is that the FDA finally recognized that harm reduction is a central feature of e-cigarettes. The rationale for approving Vuse Solo products was that “tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products.” So e-cigarettes were found to be consistent with the protection of public health. Yay! It only took the FDA two years of onerous reviews and bureaucratic chaos to get there, proving once again that FDA authorization is much more about a company’s ability to navigate red tape over science. 

Building and submitting a market authorization application takes an average of 1,713 hours to compile and could cost several million dollars per product. That presents a challenge for all vaping companies, but the bureaucratic burden has been insuperable for the smaller ones. None of them has managed to pass the FDA’s test, and the grounds for that are scientifically unjustified.

The FDA has used e-cigarettes’ supposed “appeal to young people” as a justification for PMTA rejections. However, smoking rates among minors have been dropping in the US, despite the FDA’s, CDC’s, and Michael Bloomberg’s determination to twist the latest National Youth Tobacco Survey results to their advantage. Between 2019 and 2021, the use of electronic cigarettes among teens more than halved: 27.5% to 11.3%. 

Contrary to the FDA’s misleading reports, only 3.1 percent of high school students and less than 1 percent of middle school students use vapor products daily. Recent studies found that vape flavor restrictions make teens take up smoking. 

Not to mention that reducing accessibility to vaping products negatively impacts adult smokers who are stripped of the opportunity to switch. Using flavors has been associated with a 2.3 times higher likelihood of quitting than the use of tobacco-flavored cigarettes. To protect public health, the FDA should ensure that a vast majority of products are available on the market.

The FDA made the historic e-cigarettes marketing approval process all about resources, while it should have been about smokers and harm reduction. E-cigarettes are safe, and now that the FDA recognized it in the case of one company, the trend should get replicated across the board, regardless of size and standing.

Originally published here

The Digital Economy Minister Crusading to Legalize Vaping in Thailand

By Yaël Ossowski

Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn

In our work promoting smart policies on harm reduction around the world, the Consumer Choice Center is often engaged in battles to stave off vaping flavor bans or tax hikes that will harm consumers and smokers looking to quit.

And while those efforts are vital to individuals moving away from tobacco in liberal democracies, there are countries outside that sphere that still maintain outright bans or harsh restrictions on vaping and harm-reducing technologies – depriving millions of a less harmful method of consuming nicotine.

That’s why political leaders like Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society, are worth highlighting.

Recently, Minister Thanakamanusorn has come out in favor of legalizing vaping in order to address the high number of smokers in Thai society. He wants to join the 67 countries around the world that have legalized vaping as a means of giving smokers an option to quit.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, he’s become convinced of this position because he believes “vaping could be a safer choice for those struggling to quit smoking, adding there were at least 10 million smokers in the country.”

According to Public Health England, vaping products are at least 95% less harmful than combusted tobacco, and they have become integral in reducing smoking rates in developed countries like New Zealand, the UK, the United States, and Canada.

But vaping has yet to achieve significant acceptance or legality in many countries in Asia.

At present, total smoking prevalence among the Thai population hovers around 19%, and approximately 37% of all men.

As such, Thailand has long been a target of anti-smoking activists and health groups over the years to crack down on tobacco use. Both domestic and international groups have spent millions to reach the goal of achieving a total 30% relative drop in tobacco use.

One research organization at Thammasat University in Bangkok has been given grants as part of a $20 million global project by Michael Bloomberg’s charity Bloomberg Philanthropies to “monitor” tobacco regulations and push for bans on alternative technologies like vaping.

This follows Michael Bloomberg’s efforts at depriving adoption of harm-reducing nicotine products in developing countries like the Philippines, India, and others, as we have explored below:

Those funds, as well dispersed amounts from the UN’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, have been granted as a condition of certain regulations.

Thailand became the first Asian country to adopt “plain packaging” restrictions on cigarettes in 2019, and passed a harsh tobacco control measure that outright banned vaping products, restricted tobacco advertisements, and outlawed online sales.

Despite the millions spent, Minister Thanakamanusorn points out that it isn’t as effective as the activists claim, and hence he wants to look at vaping as a sustainable market alternative.

The effort to legalize vaping, however, will come with significant opposition. Both domestic doctor groups and the FCTC, as well as Bloomberg’s foundation, have put pressure on the government to enforce a continued ban on vaping products.

They are joined in their efforts by Thailand’s own state tobacco monopoly, Tobacco Authority of Thailand, which makes an annual revenue of 2 billion USD and would see a significant setback in state revenues if smokers were to switch to vaping products.

Considering the odds stacked against Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn’s vision for legalizing vaping in Thailand, it is clear that more voices will need to be heard in the debate.

Overall, we hope for a future that embraces the science of harm reduction and will allow the citizens of Thailand to use the same products that have helped millions of smokers quit in developed countries – if only the government lets them.

Yaël Ossowski (@YaelOss) is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center.

Pentingnya Pragmatisme untuk Memerangi Rokok

Konsumsi rokok merupakan salah satau permasalahan kesehatan pubik yang besar yang saat ini melanda berbagai negara di seluruh penjuru dunia, termasuk juga Indonesia. Sudah menjadi pengetahuan umum bahwa, mengkonsumsi rokok merupakan salah satu penyebab berbagai penyakit kronis yang dialami oleh jutaan orang di seluruh dunia, seperti kanker dan penyakit jantung.

Oleh sebab itu, kebijakan untuk menanggulangi dampak dari rokok ini merupakan salah satu kebijakan yang sangat umum yang diberlakukan oleh berbagai pemerintahan di seluruh dunia. Kebijakan tersebut sangat bervariasi, mulai dari kebijakan yang cukup longgar, seperti larangan iklan, kewajiban memasang peringatan di bungkus rokok, dan larangan memasang logo, hingga kebijakan yang sangat ketat seperti larangan total konsumsi produk tembakau.

Strategi pembatasan dan pelarangan ini sekilas memang merupakan hal yang terlhat masuk akal dan bisa diterima. Bila kita ingin banyak orang untuk berhenti menggunakan produk-produk tertentu yang terbukti berbahaya misalnya, maka langkah yang dianggap tepat adalah dengan memastikan masyarakat tidak bisa mendapatkan akses terhadap barang tersebut, atau setidaknya memberi disinsentif kepada masyarakat untuk tidak mengkonsumsi produk tersebut melalui informasi di label produk.

Tetapi, bukan berarti lantas anggapan yang sekilas terlihat masuk akal tersebut merupakan sesuatu yang tepat dan sesuai dengan kenyataan. Melarang masyarakat untuk mengubah perilakunya yang berbahaya seperti mengkonsumsi rokok tidaklah semudah membalikkan telapak tangan.

Bhutan misalnya, merupakan salah satu negara yang melarang penjualan dan konsumsi rokok pada tahun 2010. Tetapi bukan berarti permasalahan konsumsi rokok di negara Himalaya tersebut menjadi selesai. Kebijakan pelarangan rokok justru memicu banyak perdagangan rokok ilegal. Pada tahun 2020, Bhutan akhirnya perlahan mulai mengizinkan warganya untuk membeli rokok melalui perusahaan yang dimiliki oleh negara untuk melawan perdagangan rokok ilegal (dfnionline.com, 7/9/2020).

Hal ini tentu bukan merupakan hal yang mengherankan untuk kita yang mengetahui sedikit sejarah mengenai kebijakan prohibisi. Berbagai kebijakan untuk melarang produk-produk yang dianggap berbahaya, seperti minuman keras dan rokok misalnya, niscaya akan berakhir pada kegagalan, sebagaimana kebijakan prohibisi minuman keras yang diberlakukan di Amerika Serikat pada dekade 1920-an. Kebijakan tersebut justru semakin memperkuat organisasi kriminal dan mafia seperti Al Capone, yang akhirnya menjadi penyedia produk ilegal tersebut.

Terkait dengan kebijakan disinsentif kepada pengguna rokok, seperti kewajiban memasang gambar dampak rokok terhadap kesehatan di bungkus rokok misalnya, keberhasilannya juga masih dipertanyakan. Deborah M. Scharf dan William G. Shadel dari Rand Corporation misalnya, menulis bahwa hampir tidak ada dampak langsung dari kewajiban pemasangan gambar tersebut dengan efek terhadap para konsumen rokok (rand.org, 30/7/2014).

Scharf dan Shadel juga menuli bahwa, ada berbagai macam faktor yang sangat kompleks yang menentukan bagaimana konsumen akan bereaksi terhadap berbagai kebijakan yang ditujukan untuk mengurangi konsumen rokok tersebut. Tidak mustahil juga bahwa, kebijakan tersebut akan membawa dampak yang berkebalikan dari tujuannya, dengan membuat para perokok merasa defensif sehingga mereka menjadi tidak memperhatikan peringatan tersebut. Berdasarkan laporan, tidak sedikit juga para perokok yang “berkreasi” dengan menutup gambar peringatan tersebut agar mereka tidak perlu melihat gambar tersebut (rand.org, 30/7/2014).

Untuk itu, dibutuhkan langkah lain bila kita ingin menanggulangi dampak dari rokok, serta mengurangi konsumsi dari produk yang berbahaya tersebut. Kita harus mampu dan berani untuk mencoba berbagai solusi lain melalui pendekatan yang pragmatis ketimbang dengan terpaku pada ide-ide tertentu yang sudah terbukti gagal.

Sejarah sudah membuktikan bahwa, praktik konsumsi produk-produk yang membahayakan bagi kesehatan tidak bisa dilakukan melalui kebijakan yang keras seperti pembatasan hingga pelarangan total. Untuk itu, cara pragmatis yang paling memungkinkan untuk menekan dampak dari konsumsi tersebut adalah apabila ada produk lain yang dapat digunakan para perokok untuk berpindah dan memiliki dampak negatif yang jauh lebih kecil.

Saat ini sudah ada beberapa produk alternatif tersebut yang bisa kita temukan dengan mudah, khususnya kita yang tinggal di kota-kota besar. Salah satu produk tersebut yang kerap digunakan sebagai cara harm reduction strategy, atau strategi untuk mengurangi dampak negatif dari rokok itu sendiri, adalah rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal juga dengan nama vape.

Penggunaan vape sebagai bagian dari harm reduction strategy memang merupakan hal yang menimbulkan pro dan kontra, di mana tidak sedikit yang berpandangan bawah vape merupakan produk yang sama bahayanya, atau bahkan lebih berbahaya, dari rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Pandangan ini jelas adalah pandangan yang sangat keliru.

Pada tahun 2015 lalu, lembaga kesehatan publik asal Inggris, Public Health England (PHE), mengeluarkan laporan terkait dengan dampak vape terhadap kesehatan. Dalam laporan PHE tersebut, disebutkan bahwa produk vape 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (Public Health England, 19/8/2015).

Laporan ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat penting dan patut kita apresiasi. Adanya produk yang mampu menjadi alternatif rokok yang terbukti jauh lebih aman adalah berita yang sangat baik, dan memberi kesempatan bagi para perkok untuk memindahkan konsumsinya ke produk yang lebih aman.

Penggunaan vape sebagai produk alternatif dalam rangka harm reduction strategy bukanlah sesuatu yang hanya hadir di teori saja, melainkan juga sudah dipratikkan di negara lain. Inggris misalnya, mengkampayekan penggunaan vape untuk membantu para perokok menghentikan kebiasaannya yang sangat berbahaya. Kebijakan tersebut terbukti sangat sukses, dan melalui strategi harm reduction dengan menggunakan vape, 1,5 juta warga Inggris telah menghentikan kebiasaan merokoknya (consumerchoicecenter.org, 21/7/2020).

Sebagai pentutup, langkah dan strategi pragmatis merupakan hal yang sangat penting bila kita ingin mengurangi jumlah populasi perokok. Jangan sampai, kita terlalu terpaku pada ide dan pandangan tertentu, sehingga kita tetap mengimplementasikan kebijakan yang sudah terbukti gagal, sehingga tidak mampu membantu kawan-kawan kita yang perokok untuk menghentikan kebiasaannya yang sangat berbahaya.

Originally published here

New Smoking Pandemic Lurking As FDA Prepares Its Decision On E-Cigarettes

Today, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce its historical decision on the fate of e-cigarettes in the United States. As a result of a review of millions of applications made by big and small e-cigarettes makers around the country, the agency will either recognize vaping products as “appropriate for the protection of public health”, or ban them from the market. Despite unequivocal evidence proving the safety of e-cigarettes, the odds are not in favor of e-cigarettes, especially when it comes to smaller companies.

E-cigarettes were actually invented to help smokers quit, and have been enormously successful in doing so. Since 2013, when vaping became popular in the United Kingdom, the adult smoking rate there has plummeted. In fact, in the UK, the smoking rate is at itslowest since 1974. The popularity of vape flavors among adults is one of the reasons smokers have switched to vaping. Vapers that use flavors are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.

Although not complete, the FDA market authorization review process has shown bias against flavored e-cigarettes. On August 26, the FDA denied 55,000 flavored e-cigarette products market access for failing to “provide evidence that they appropriately protect public health” despite the clear body of evidence that e-cigarettes do improve the health of smokers who switch to e-cigarettes. Instead of acknowledging this evidence, the FDA pivoted instead to the illegal use of e-cigarettes by those under 21 years old, saying “flavored tobacco products are very appealing to young people” and hence require close examination. Such reasoning doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and only hurts adult consumers who seek to switch.

A recent study by the Consumer Choice Center and World Vapers’ Alliance found that if the US was to put in place vape flavor bans, over 7.7 million vapers would go back to smoking. If the main goal behind the market authorization review process is to protect public health and prevent smoking-induced diseases, then e-cigarette flavor bans—which are popular with smokers seeking harm-reducing alternatives—are the wrong way forward. 

Second, the application process has been unnecessarily bureaucratic and costly. The FDA itself estimated that building and submitting a market authorization application will take an average of 1,713 hours to compile and could cost several million dollars per product. For smaller vape companies, that is a heavyweight to bear. 

Speaking to POLITICO, Dave Morris, the owner of Phoenix, Arizona-based Vape Gravy Brands, said that his company has spent nearly every penny to apply for market approval of his products. Many of the applications that have been submitted to the FDA have been issued “refuse to accept” or“refuse to file” notices as their applications were deemed incomplete, or as failing to meet technical requirements.

Small vape shops are essential to driving down smoking rates. A study published by BMC Health found that “vape shop staff play a central role in providing customers with product information, and many provide smoking cessation advice.” Therefore, preserving small vape shops is critical to reduce smoking.

Due to a high volume of applications, it seems likely that the FDA will postpone its decision further. However, the predictions are far from optimistic. The United States, a land of innovation and entrepreneurship, is set to crush a technology that—unlike taxes and various other tobacco restrictions—has helped millions of smokers quit. Many developing countries will follow America’s lead, so the fate of vaping globally is at stake. In the end, in pursuit of public health protection, the FDA will bring about a new smoking pandemic. Haven’t we had enough of pandemics?

Originally published here

2.4 million smokers in the UK turn to vape to quit

VAPING debate is heating up again. While the World Health Organisation has just released a statement pouring cold water on the use of vape in helping to reduce tobacco consumption, evidence in the United Kingdom (UK) continues to show that it is very effective in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.

A recently published survey by a tobacco control advocate in the UK, has found nearly two-thirds (64.6%) of its vaping population comprising adults are ex-smokers who have quit smoking with vape, with the proportion growing year-on-year. This figure translates to approximately 2.4 million vapers who are ex-smokers.

In addition, the proportion of never smokers remain low at 4.9% or approximately 200,000 adults.

According to the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), there are 3.6 million vapers in the UK in 2021 which is approximately 7.1% of its total population.

Based on the survey, most of the current e-cigarette users who are ex-smokers say they vape to help them quit (36%) and to keep them off tobacco (20%), strengthening the claim that that vaping is helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes.

According to UK’s Annual Population Survey, smoking prevalence among adults aged 18 and over in England has declined significantly. In 2011, 19.8% of adults smoked, falling to 13.9% in 2019, equivalent to a drop from 7.7 million smokers in 2011 to 5.7 million in 2019.

In fact, reports over the years by Public Health England (PHE) found that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes and was helping 20,000 people quit a year. PHE also claim that that e-cigarettes are the most popular aid used in quit attempts for smokers in UK.

In 2020, 27.2% of people used a vaping product in a quit attempt in the previous 12 months, compared with 15.5% who used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

It also said that concern about e-cigarette use as a gateway to smoking among young people wasn’t supported by evidence in the UK, where regular vaping among young people who’ve never smoked is less than 1%.

In addition, evidence from a randomised controlled trial found that vaping was nearly twice as effective as NRT in helping smokers quit in a Stop Smoking Service setting in England, and a systematic review of the evidence has concluded that there is moderate-certainty evidence that e-cigarettes with nicotine increase quit rates compared to e-cigarettes without nicotine and compared to NRT.

In Malaysia, a survey commissioned by Malaysian Vape Industry Advocacy (MVIA) found that 88% of Malaysian vapers who used to smoke cigarettes have successfully quit smoking with the aid of vape.

The same poll also found that 79%, who currently vape and also smoke traditional cigarettes at the same time, have reduced smoking since taking up vape.

Clearly, the role of vaping in helping smokers to quit traditional cigarettes for good cannot be ignored.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Switching From Smoking To Vaping Could Save Thousands Of Lives, Report Finds

Report claims over half a million Malaysians smokers would switch if vaping is promoted as a harm reduced alternative.

An international consumer group has called for a “rethink” of approaches to vaping, saying regulations that facilitate it as a means to help people quit smoking could save thousands of lives.

The Consumer Choice Center (CCC) made this call in a report it published with the World Vaping Alliance (WVA) titled “From Smoking to Vaping – Lives Saved”.

The report analysed data on smoking and vaping from 61 countries and assessed how many smokers could potentially switch to vaping if the regulations encouraged vaping as a means to quit smoking.

The researchers looked to the United Kingdom to establish a “switching rate” because of the rate at which smoking decreased while vaping increased in the UK.

In the UK, people are “actively” encouraged to switch to vaping, and the country has seen a 25% reduction in smokers since 2013 when vaping became a key asset for the UK health agencies to urge smokers to quit smoking.

In the same period, Australia, which has one of the toughest vaping regulations saw a decline in smoking of only 8%.

The report estimates that if the right regulations were in place, around 196 million smokers in the 61 countries could switch to vaping, an alternative the two organisations say is 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

In the case of Malaysia, the report cited that the country could see well over half a million smokers in this country would make the switch if vaping is promoted as a harm reduced alternative for smokers.

A growing number of studies are pointing to the effectiveness of tobacco harm reduction (THR) measures including safer alternatives to cigarettes, to help smokers kick the habit.

A recent review of studies by Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK’s Health and Social Care Department found “stronger evidence” that nicotine vaping products are effective for smoking cessation and reduction.

This was in comparison to its 2018 review of studies which found that “tens of thousands” stopped smoking as a result of vaping in 2017 alone.

In “From Smoking To Vaping – Lives Saved”, the report notes that vaping has been recognised as one of the most effective tools to help smokers quit and this has been endorsed by health authorities in several countries including the UK, France, Canada, and New Zealand.

CCC Managing Director Fred Roeder said about the report, “Smart rules on advertising e-cigarettes to smokers, displaying e-cigarettes at the point of sale for cigarettes, lower rates of taxation for e-cigarettes, and public health bodies endorsing the evidence of vaping being at least 95% less harmful than traditional smoking, everything that the UK has done right, can help save the lives of thousands of smokers by helping them switch to vaping.”

WVA Director Michael Landl meanwhile said the report highlights the significant potential of the benefits of switching from smoking to vaping.

While the benefits of vaping as an alternative to smoking have been known for some time, the research shows just how significant the potential is: almost 200 million lives saved. If COVID has shown us anything, it’s that our health is paramount and regulators that want people to quit smoking need to be led by science and ensure that ideology takes a back seat to pragmatism.

World Vapers Association (WVADirectorMichael Landl

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Flavoured vape e-liquids help smokers to quit smoking

A recent paper by Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) and the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) has concluded that vapers risk returning to smoking traditional cigarettes if they do not have access to flavoured vape e-liquids.

The paper titled Why Flavours Matter cited a five-year US study involving 17,000 Americans. It found that adults who used flavoured vaping products were 2.3 times more likely to quit traditional cigarettes compared with those who consumed tobacco-flavoured vaping products.

Read the full article here

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Both the EU Beating Cancer Plan and Dutch vape flavour ban – expected to enter into force on 1 July 2022 – fail to see the important role vaping plays in helping smokers quit.

Vaping is safe, and the EU must give it a chance

Such an approach doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and does nothing to reduce the smoking rates and beat cancer. The longer Europe continues to ignore an emerging plethora of studies on vaping and its lifesaving properties, the more lives will be lost.

Nearly 700,000 Europeans die every year as a result of smoking-induced cancer. Unless the EU recognises the benefits of vaping, these numbers will likely persist, depriving future generations of tobacco-free saved years of life. Anti-vaping policies are anti-human rights because they knowingly endanger the lives of smokers by limiting their access to an effective harm reduction tool.

Read the full article here

Pentingnya Informasi yang Lengkap Terkait Vape bagi Masyarakat

Rokok elektronik, atau yang dikenal juga dengan istilah vape, saat ini merupakan produk yang tidak bisa dipisahkan dari kehidupan sehari-hari bagi jutaan masyarakat di Indonesia. Kita, khususnya yang tinggal di wilayah urban, dapat dengan mudah menemukan berbagai orang yang menggunakan produk rokok elektronik tersebut di berbagai tempat

Bagi sebagian orang, vape menyediakan berbagai pengalaman berbeda yang tidak bisa didapatkan dari mengkonsumsi rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Beberapa diantaranya adalah banyaknya pilihan rasa yang disediakan oleh berbagai produk vape yang dijual di pasar.

Tetapi, tidak semua pihak menyambut baik fenomena semakin populernya berbagai produk vape tersebut di masyarakat. Tidak sedikit sebagian kalangan yang menganggap hal tersebut adalah sesuatu yang sangat negatif, dan harus segera ditangani. Tidak jarang juga, orang yang menganggap justru rokok elektronik dianggap sebagai produk yang jauh lebih berbahaya bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar.

Padahal, berdasarkan penelitian, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Berdasarkan laporan dari lembaga kesehatan publik Inggris, Public Health England (PHE) tahun 2015 misalnya, rokok elektronik atau vape merupakan produk yang 95% jauh lebih aman bila dibandingkan dengan rokok konvensional yang dibakar (gov.uk, 19/8/2015).

Berdasarkan American Lung Association, rokok konvensional yang dibakar misalnya, mengandung lebih dari 7.000 zat kimia, di mana 69 diantaranya merupakan zat berbahaya yang dapat menyebabkan kanker (lung.org, 20/8/2019). Sementara itu, terkait dengan rokok elektornik atau vape, dua bahan utama yang terkandung dalam cairan vape tersebut terdiri dari propylene glycol (PG) dan vegetable glycerin (VG) yang sudah dinyatakan aman oleh berbagai lembaga regulator, salah satunya adalah lembaga regulator Amerika Serikat, Food and Drugs Administration (24/10/2019).

Informasi ini tentu merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk diketahui oleh publik sebagai konsumen. Bila terdapat informasi yang terbuka mengenai hal tersebut, maka konsumen dalam hal ini memiliki kesempatan untuk memilih produk yang jauh lebih untuk mereka konsumsi.

Hal ini pula yang diungkapkan oleh organisasi pegiat hak konsumen vape di Indonesia, Asosiasi Konsumen Vape Indonesia (AKVINDO). AKVINDO menyatakan bahwa, saat ini masyarakat belum memiliki akses terhadap informasi mengenai vape atau rokok elektronik yang memadai, sehingga banyak menerima misinformasi dan kekeliruan (merdeka.com, 19/4/2021).

Pandangan yang sama juga diutarakan oleh Aliansi Vaper Indonesia (AVI). Menurut AVI, konsumen memiliki hak sebagaimana yang diatur dalam aturan perlindungan konsumen, diantaranya adalah mengenai akses terhadap informasi produk yang digunakan. Hal ini tentu termasuk juga para konsumen produk-produk vape atau rokok elektronik (vapemagz.co.id, 20/3/2021).

Informasi yang lengkap bagi konsumen agar mereka bisa memilih pilihan yang terbaik bagi diri mereka merupakan hal yang sangat penting, khususnya untuk para konsumen produk-produk yang sangat membahayakan kesehatan seperti rokok konvensional yang dibakar. Terlebih lagi, Indonesia merupakan salah satu negara dengan jumlah populasi perokok tertinggi di dunia. Pada tahun 2021, jumlah perokok aktif di Indonesia diestimasi sebesar 65,7 juta jiwa (jpnn.com, 29/4/2021).

Angka yang sangat tinggi ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang sangat mengkhawatirkan. Mengajak seseorang untuk berhenti merokok bukanlah hal yang semudah membalikkan telapak tangan, karena rokok merupakan salah satu produk yang mengandung zat adiktif yang dapat menimbulkan kecanduan.

Oleh karena itu, bila konsumen di Indonesia, khususnya mereka yang menjadi para perokok aktif, bisa mendapatkan informasi yang sesuai dan lengkap mengenai produk alternatif tembakau lainnya, seperti rokok elektronik, diharapkan setidaknya mereka bisa mempertimbangkan pilihan yang lebih baik. Bila para konsumen mendapatkan informasi yang lengkap mengenai bahaya rokok konvensional yang dibakar, dan bahwa produk rokok elektronik jauh lebih aman daripada rokok konvensional, tidak mustahil sebagian besar dari mereka akan berpindah ke produk yang lebih aman.

Originally published here

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