Adult Smokers Entitled to Valid and Reliable Information of Alternative Tobacco Products

By : Abraham Sihombing | Wednesday, September 14 2022 - 12:30 IWST

Alternative tobacco products. (Photo:
Alternative tobacco products. (Photo: - Jakarta - Public owns the rights to obtain valid and reliable information to improve their health quality. The same rights is also owned by adult smokers, particularly to pertinent information about the dangers of smoking, and on the other hand, facts about alternative tobacco products that have been research-proven to have a lower risk than cigarettes.


The Executive Director of Center of Youth and Population (CYPR), Dedek Prayudi, disclosed, access and services to obtain information about alternative tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and nicotine bags, are part of human rights. Therefore, information about the product needs to be compiled and conveyed comprehensively.


“The government's efforts in finding, making, and distributing information about alternative tobacco products are an obligation in fulfilling these rights,” said Dedek who is familiarly called Uki, on Tuesday (13/09/2022).


Dedek explained, the right to obtain valid and reliable information is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially in Article 25 which regulates the rights to be healthy. The same is also regulated in Article 4 of the 1945 Constitution which states that everyone has the same rights to obtain an optimal degree of health.


Currently, there are many studies prove that heated tobacco products have a much lower risk level than cigarettes. One of them is toxicology research published by a lecturer at Airlangga University, Shoim Hidayat, who stated that the content of chemical compounds in the vapors of heated tobacco products is 90% lower than that in cigarette smoke. In addition, the vapors of heated tobacco products also do not produce TAR, a compound that has the potential to increase health risks.


Therefore, the government is obliged to educate the public regarding this scientific information. Because the use of good and regulated alternative tobacco products based on the concept of tobacco harm reduction can be an instrument to reduce the smoking prevalence. On the contrary, the availability absence of valid and reliable information is a form of denial of one of the human rights components.


In the policy dimension, this is a form of policy denial towards science. “This denial, furthermore, has a devastating impact on development progress,” Dedek said.


On the other hand, Indonesian society is currently experiencing a paradigm shift in thinking so that it becomes more logical and scientific. Public distrust has a potential to occur if the state fails to compensate for this condition in the formulation of every existing policy.


In addition, Indonesia also has the potential to miss opportunities to reduce the prevalence of smoking and diversify downstream tobacco products that have been provided by the market and innovations in alternative tobacco products.


Tomas O'Gorman, a lawyer from Mexico, who is also a lecturer in Corporate Law and Succession Law at the Universidad Panamericana, at the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2022, disclosed, the rights to information in an effort to reduce the harm of cigarettes is an important component in enforcing the right to health.


“Because the rights to tobacco harm reduction is the best way to enforce the rights to health,” said O’Gorman.


In addition to valid and reliable information, one more thing that need to be considered is the rights to express an opinion by the parties who are involved directly. Particularly, in policymaking that will have an impact on them. Therefore, in making policies related to reducing the harm of cigarettes, it is important for the government to listen to the consumers’ voice.(*)

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