Researcher: Tobacco is Good for Health

Tobacco which is often regarded as the source of the disease was claimed by a number of scientists to have many health benefits. That, for example, was expressed by Dr Ttot Sudargo, a researcher from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

"Not many people know that tobacco contains many bioactive components that are beneficial to health," Toto said in a seminar titled "Tobacco for Life" at the Aston Hotel, Jember, Monday evening, December 23, 2013.

According to Toto, in tobacco leaves there are bioactive compounds such as flavonoids and phenols. The two compounds become antioxidants that can prevent cancer, anti-carcinogen, anti-proliferation, anti-flammation, and provide a protective effect against cardiovascular disease.

In addition, he said, in tobacco leaves there is also vitamin C or ascorbic acid which is an antioxidant and can react with free anti-radicals by providing a protective effect of cells.

In tobacco there is also zinc (Zn) which is useful in the formation of enzymes and protein structures that are beneficial to the body. "In addition, tobacco also contains essential oils which can be used as an antibacterial and antiseptic," he said.

Professor Subiyakto from Balittas (Research Institute of Sweeteners and Fiber Plants) Malang said, tobacco provides many benefits for life, especially in terms of the economy. At present, he said, there are around 6 million Indonesians who depend on the tobacco industry. "Tobacco also provides high excise tax for the country. In 2012 alone, as much as Rp. 70 trillion, "he said.

At present, he said, the government also needs to develop a tobacco diversification program so that it can provide many benefits in a variety of products. Because, tobacco can also be used as basic chemicals that can be used for pesticides, cosmetics, drugs, the pharmaceutical industry, and so on. "So, sego bebek (duck rice) is even more dangerous to health than tobacco if both are consumed in excess," he joked.

Desak Nyoman Siksiawati, Head of the UPT for Testing the Quality Certification of Goods and Tobacco Institutions in Jember, said that the seminar was deliberately held to provide information to the public so that tobacco is not only seen from the negative side. "There are still many positive sides to tobacco," Desak said.

He claimed he did not want to waste energy by responding to various controversies and skewed views addressed by some parties to the tobacco commodity. Tobacco, said Desak, is not only used as cigarettes, but also can be used as a variety of products that are very useful for human life.

The public, especially tobacco farmers, must know that there are still many opportunities from tobacco commodities. "In addition, we also want to maintain the existence of tobacco as part of the culture of society, such as tulips in the Netherlands or sakura in Japan," he said.