APHRF 2024, Polosa at the Asian conference on Harm Reduction

Jakarta, July 4, 2024 – Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Forum (APHRF) 2024, a forum that discusses the issue of reducing harm from tobacco use in the Asia Pacific, was held yesterday, Wednesday, July 3 2024 at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Chairman of the Koalisi Indonesia Bebas Tar (KABAR), Ariyo Bimmo, stated that this forum is an important forum for all relevant stakeholders to exchange knowledge, experience and information. The hope is that this forum can present the best strategies to support the implementation of the danger reduction concept.

The smoking problem has become a serious global health challenge. In Asia Pacific, the impact is very significant, both in terms of public health and socio-economics. However, amidst these challenges there is also a great opportunity to create significant positive change,” said Ariyo in his speech.

Ariyo continued, the opportunity to reduce problems caused by smoking can be realized with efforts and support from stakeholders to focus on harm reduction approaches based on scientific evidence and innovation. By focusing on this approach, countries in Asia Pacific, especially Indonesia, can reduce the negative impacts of smoking while still giving adult smokers the option to switch to alternative tobacco products or quit completely.

This forum is not just about addressing the smoking problem, but also about encouraging a comprehensive approach in public policy, advocacy, public education, and support for solutions that are lower risk and practical for adult smokers” said Ariyo.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use causes the deaths of nearly eight million people every year. Tobacco consumption is also a risk factor that can cause non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease. In Indonesia, based on data from the 2023 Indonesian Health Survey (SKI), the number of active smokers has reached 70 million people.

As an organization that supports harm reduction efforts in Indonesia, Ariyo is optimistic that collaboration between KABAR and relevant stakeholders can achieve significant progress in reducing smoking prevalence. Specifically addressing the problem of adult smokers who find it difficult to quit in order to create overall and sustainable improvements in the quality of public health.

The hope is that constructive discussions can be held to address the challenges of the smoking problem and provide appropriate references in policy formulation. Let us together commit to continuing to move forward and support initiatives that promote public health as an effort to reduce the dangers of tobacco” said Ariyo.

This forum is divided into three sessions, the first of which discusses science and scientific studies with speakers from representatives of the Ministry of Finance (Kemenkeu) and the Ministry of Industry (Kemenperin), Professor Amaliya from Padjadjaran University, Professor Bambang Prasetya from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and Marine Colonel Dr. drg. Yun Mukmin Akbar from the Dentistry Institute RSGM R.E Martadinata.

In the second session, we discussed health issues with Professor Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine from the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR), University of Catania and Dr. Rogelio F. Varela Jr. who is a urologist from the Philippines, and Brigadier General (Ret.) Alex K. Ginting, a lung specialist.

The final session discussed policy and consumer issues. Speakers in this session include the Head of the Sub-Directorate of Excise Tariffs and Base Prices of the Directorate General of Customs and Excise Akbar Harfianto, representative from Directorate of Beverages, Refreshments and Tobacco Industry, Ministry of Industry Nugraha Prasetia Yogie, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia Hari Prasetiyo, Secretary of the Indonesian Vaper Association (AVI) Wiratna Eko Indra Putra, and Head of the Production Division of the Indonesian Personal Vaporizer Association (APVI) Eko Prio HC.