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Mystery Illness: Indonesia Also Mulls Vaping Ban

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Indonesia is exploring a total ban on the use of electronic cigarettes and vape products in the country due to healthcare concerns following the lung illness outbreak related to vaping in the U.S., according to reports.

However, the South-East Asian country has not reported any cases of vaping-related illness.

The Indonesian government reportedly plans to amend the existing laws so as to totally prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and vape products, based on a proposal submitted by the Food and Drug Control Agency or BPOM.

According to reports, BPOM Chairperson Penny Lukito cited scientific findings that e-cigarettes contain chemical compounds harmful to health, including nicotine, propylene glycol, flavor, metals, carbonyl emission, tobacco-specific nitrosamines or TSNAs, and diethylene glycol or DEG.

She also noted that the World Health Organization has not recommended electronic cigarettes and vape as a therapy to quit smoking.

Chain-smoking Indonesia is the world's second largest tobacco market, where 65 percent of men smoke. Indonesia was seen as a promising market for smokers to switch to vaping.

Last year, the Indonesian government imposed a 57 per cent tax on non-tobacco alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and vaping liquids.

If the ban is implemented, Indonesia will join the growing list of countries that have banned e-cigarettes or are considering to do so. Vaping is now banned in about 30 countries around the world.

Indonesian Personal Vaporizer Association, a group of e-cigarettes importers and vape shop owners, is said to have urged the government to hold public discussions with stakeholders before imposing any restrictions.

Vaping poses a major threat to the health of thousands of people in the U.S., mainly the youth. Flavored e-cigarettes packed with addictive nicotine are fueling a youth epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC on Thursday confirmed 47 deaths and 2,290 cases of lung injury related to vaping.

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