The Hidden Dangers of E-Cigarettes

The Hidden Dangers of E-Cigarettes

By Dessy Sagita on 11:02 pm Mar 09, 2014

Jakarta. Amid chronic tobacco addiction, Indonesia is also faced with the lurking dangers of electronic cigarettes, which have started gaining popularity in the country, experts say.

“The safety of electronic cigarettes has not been scientifically proven and the pharmacological effects of nicotine, the addictive component, is known to accelerate the heart rate and raise blood pressure,” said Tara Singh Bam, technical adviser at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Tara added that the Indonesian government should start regulating the manufacturing, marketing and sales of e-cigarettes.

These devices, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS), vaporize and deliver a chemical mixture to the user’s lungs. The concoction is usually made up of nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals, although some products claim not to contain the addictive stimulant at all.

Professor Tjandra Yoga Aditama, director general for Disease Control and Environmental Health, said Indonesia is currently studying nicotine devices so the country may establish policies to regulate manufacturing and sales.

Tjandra, a noted pulmonologist, added that e-cigarette producers have placed disclaimers on their products, warning they should not be used by sufferers of lung diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis or pneumonia

“This [disclaimer] indicates that the product is actually dangerous, especially for the respiratory system,” he said.

Tjandra said e-cigarettes offer customers an illusive sense of safety as they do not produce smoke and would, therefore, not contribute to second-hand smoking.

“The truth is, its effects on non-smokers still exist, considering ENDS devices still release nicotine particles and other toxic substances into the air,” he said.

Growing concerns about the dangers of e-cigarettes have driven some countries, including Brazil, Norway and Singapore, to restrict sales, advertising and use of nicotine devices.

He said Indonesia needs to take a similar approach.

“A comprehensive ban on all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of e-cigarettes must be established,” he said, adding that the display of e-cigarettes in retail stores, as well as sales to minors should also be strictly prohibited.

“E-cigarettes and their refills should not be sold in flavors that are appealing to children,” he said.

The union reported the use of e-cigarettes in many countries, including Indonesia, has grown, reiterating concerns over a product whose health impact is still uncertain.

For youths, it said, questions surround the potential negative impact of nicotine on adolescent brain development, as well as a higher risk of addiction, which could lead to the use of conventional cigars or cigarettes.

The World Health Organization has also announced its worries over such products by suggesting “consumers should be strongly advised not to use” e-cigarettes until a regulatory body has given sound evidence of their safety and efficacy.

Tjandra said nicotine addiction in the country has reached a concerning level. In 2010, an estimated 200,000 Indonesians died of tobacco-related diseases.

Indonesia ranks third in the world for its number of smokers, behind China and India, though the nation has a higher prevalence of tobacco use and addiction among children.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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