New collaborative projects between Padjadjaran University and the University of Catania for studies on harm reduction in Indonesia

Bandung, July 2, 2024Padjadjaran University received a visit from Prof. Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catania and also Founder of The Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) at a public lecture, laboratory visit and meeting with the Vice Rector of Padjadjaran University.

At the public lecture, Prof. Riccardo explained the results of a study regarding the concept of harm reduction, especially regarding tobacco use and the health effects it causes. This concept aims to provide an alternative to various risky activities such as smoking by encouraging people who smoke to switch to products that are lower risk and not go through the combustion process (combustible free) so that they dont produce TAR which causes health problems.

It is important to know that the cause of the health impacts of smoking is actually caused by combustion and TAR, not nicotine itself. This alternative represents a way to avoid the dangerous consequences of burning and contributes to the reduction of risks due to smoking” said Polosa.

The event was moderated by Prof. Amaliya, Professor at the Faculty of Dentistry, Padjadjaran University (FKG UNPAD) who also conveyed that the concept of harm reduction is very relevant to dental and oral health, especially the impact of smoking because smoking begins through the mouth and the inhalation spreads to the teeth and oral cavity. This is what encouraged FKG UNPAD and CoEHAR, University of Catania to collaborate on SMILE study research in Indonesia and Italy.

Public lectures and research collaborations are proof of the synergy between our campus UNPAD and University of Catania in studying harm reduction in Indonesia. The SMILE study has also completed its research. The research results can be a scientific evidences for the government in its efforts to solve the smoking problem. In the future, it will not only be a research on smoking issues but also on other issues with harm reduction studies.” Amaliya explained.

Apart from the SMILE Study, UNPAD is also conducting a research collaboration called the Replica Study which is chaired by dr. Ronny Lesmana from Central Laboratory, UNPAD. This study is an inter-laboratory study that compares alternative tobacco products such as e- cigarettes and heated tobacco with cigarettes and replicates the results of in vitro studies with research teams from Italy, Greece, United States, Serbia and Oman.

Prof. Polosa and UNPAD representatives also visited the UNPAD Central Laboratory to see the Replica Study research facility which uses the latest smoking machine and vaping machine technology. Both campuses also provide training programs to share knowledge and establish international laboratory networks.

Replica study aims to establish beneficial partnerships with international universities and research centers. CoEHAR as a leading center carries out student exchanges between universities by providing training related to harm reduction studies for several weeks to learn research techniques and encourage new research collaborations” explained Polosa.

For your information, Padjadjaran University also signed an MoU on Harm Reduction Research Collaboration with CoEHAR, University of Catania. This collaboration is consist of research, training and studies at both universities regarding harm reduction, especially in tobacco related products, in order to provide credible and objective information to the government, academics, society and other stakeholders.

I hope that our meeting with the Vice Rector of UNPAD can continue the joint agreement to establish CoEHAR at UNPAD as a leading center for harm reduction in Asia and the realization of more research and studies that will help all parties in overcoming health risks” said Polosa.