Indonesian government: considering tax increase or tax ban on vape products?

After the first failure in 2010, government authorities are again considering banning vape products in the country, which are considered as dangerous as smoking.
For years, Indonesia has had reservations about regulating vape. Some experts believe this should be blamed on the fact that it took too long for government agencies to make up their minds and try to enforce the laws they enacted. But things may well be about to change. Some time ago, the country’s vice president, Marouf Amin, said he would “conduct a comprehensive assessment of the impact of e-cigarettes on public health. The assessment aims to understand the next phase of the country’s vape legislation.

“We will consider banning vape, but in principle, anything that is dangerous will be banned by government departments,” he said, adding that if this assessment does not reveal any particular dangers, “the next step will be to decide whether to impose an excise tax on vape. The products will be taxed or not.” The decision was made after an amendment was submitted on December 23, which was signed by the country’s president, Joko Widodo.

So far, vape has not been regulated in the country. Although the government department failed to enforce its law banning the import, sale, and possession of e-cigarette products in 2010, it approved them seven years later, imposing a hefty 57 percent tax. Another 15 percent tax increase is expected this year and in 2024.

According to the National Council on Tobacco Control, smoking and vape are equally unhealthy. This position contradicts the majority of scientific studies that show vape are far less harmful than smoking.

The latest data for 2019 shows that 37.60 percent of Indonesia’s population is a smoker. The rate has been rising since 2015, when it stood at 36.7 percent.