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Smoking Toddler Cuts Back On Cigarettes

By paulabernstein |

Remember the “smoking toddler,” the two-year-old Indonesian boy who became an international sensation last month when a video circulated of him chain-smoking?

People were universally outraged at the sight, even more so when they learned that the boy’s father first gave him cigarettes when he was only 18 months old.

Good news: according to The Sun, Ardi Rizal has cut down his habit to 15 cigarettes a day from the 40 he had been smoking.

A child welfare official told The Sun that the child’s addiction is being treated with “therapy focused on playing.”

Previously, Indonesian officials had offered to buy the family a car if the boy quits smoking.

As I’ve written before, the smoking toddler isn’t such an anomaly in Indonesia, where 25 percent of children ages 3-to-15 have tried cigarettes.  A decade ago, the average age of beginner smokers was 19 but a recent study found that the average age for trying cigarettes is now seven. Among those kids who have tried smoking, 3.2 percent are said to be active, addicted smokers.

In Indonesia, where the rate of child smokers continues to rise, there is no ban on public smoking and no age limit on who can purchase cigarettes. Big Tobacco companies need to take responsibility and stop marketing to kids.

Meanwhile, the toddler smoking problem apparently isn’t limited to Indonesia. The Sun recently wrote about a Chinese toddler who is addicted to smoking and drinking beer.

The little girl, Ya Wen, 3, apparently took up smoking after being hit by a speeding van last year.

Her mother later found her secretly smoking cigarettes, which she stole from her father. The girl is now addicted to cigarettes and her parents say she also drinks beer.

“Three glasses of beer is no problem to her,” her mother told The Sun.

In both of these cases, I fear there is more to the story than we know or can understand. It’s hard to imagine how any parent would allow such a young child to smoke and drink. I won’t even let my kids inhale second hand smoke or drink soda!

Photo: Hindustan Times

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About paulabernstein

paulabernstein

paulabernstein

Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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6 thoughts on “Smoking Toddler Cuts Back On Cigarettes

  1. blue says:

    Big Tobacco ain’t great, but in this case I really think you have to look to the parents. I doubt it’s marketing–rather, a toddler’s natural desire to imitate and the parents’ refusing to set limits.

  2. blue says:

    Also–that poor kid. Sheesh.

  3. [...] crap that they don’t really want.” ––Bill Maher – “The chain-smoking toddler from Indonesia has cut down to 15 cigarettes per day. You know what would get him to stop smoking [...]

  4. [...] were outraged at the sight of the toddler sucking in nicotine. Reports later surfaced that he had cut back on his cigarette habit. But CBS News recently tracked him down in Indonesia and found that he’s still puffing [...]

  5. Cl says:

    This article has one minor point of inaccuracy: smoking in public is technically illegal in Jakarta – but the law is almost never enforced. While even I would be surprised to whitness a toddler smoking, the fact that it’s in Indonesia does not surprise me. Sadly children smoking is honestly low on the list of things to worry about there. It’s a product of environment.

  6. Bonnie Murch says:

    This is unbelievable to me coming from parents that chain smoked while I was growing up to my mother dying at a young age due to smoking. If my children ever smoke I will completely lose it on them even if they are adults which they are not as of yet! What are these parents thinking it is completely unacceptable to allow this I do not care what country you live in!

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