Video of a 2-year-old smoking cigarettes is making the Internet rounds today and we are not amused. In the disturbing video, little Ardi Rizal mugs for the camera, blowing kisses and acting like a typical toddler caught on camera. Except for the part where he repeatedly takes a drag from the lit cigarette he holds in his chubby little hand.
At an age when most parents wouldn’t let their child near a hot stove, this kid is smoking (and smoking like a pro, I might add) a burning stick of cancer-causing tobacco. What the heck is going on here?
What’s going on, according to experts, is that Ardi lives in Indonesia, a country where 25 percent of children ages 3-to-15 have tried cigarettes. And of those kids who have given tobacco a shot, 3.2 percent are said to be active, addicted smokers.
Indonesia may be the world’s third-largest tobacco consumer, but why are little kids – babies practically! – lighting up? Seto Mulyadi, chairman of Indonesia’s child protection commission, blames aggressive advertisers and parents who are smokers themselves.
In the case of Ardi, the blame would seem to fall squarely on the shoulders of his father, Mohammad Rizal. He says he gave Ardi his first taste of nicotine at the tender age of 18-months and now the little boy has a 2-pack-a-day habit.
Ardi is already suffering the health consequences of his addiction. He’s too overweight to run and play with the other kids and when he doesn’t get his fix, he complains of feeling dizzy and sick.
So, why don’t his parents force him to kick the habit? His mother says she’s tried but Ardi has a fit when he’s denied his smokes. And dad? Well, despite the fact that the Indonesian government has offered the family a free car if Ardi quits smoking, Mohammad Rizal doesn’t see the problem with his baby smoker. “He looks healthy to me,” he says.
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