Boy, 8, puffs two cigarette packs a day

2012-03-12 14:12

Jakarta - An eight-year-old Indonesian boy who smokes two packets of cigarettes a day has highlighted the government's failure to regulate the tobacco industry, the country's Child Protection Commission said on Monday.

After food, cigarettes account for the second-largest household expenditure in the Southeast Asian country of 240 million people, nearly half of whom still live on less than $2 a day.

But there is no minimum age for buying or smoking cigarettes.

"Ilham started smoking when he was 4-years-old... his smoking habit grew day by day and now he can finish smoking two packs of cigarettes a day," the boy's father, a motorcycle taxi driver called Umar, was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara.

The boy, who lives in a village in West Java provincial district of Sukabumi, would flare up in a rage and "smash glass windows or anything" if he was not given cigarettes, he added.

"He doesn't want to go to school anymore. He spends his whole day smoking and playing."

Defeated by tobacco

The government has increased excise taxes but prices remain extremely low by international standards, with a pack of 20 costing little more than a dollar.

Indonesia's Child Protection Commission chairperson Arist Merdeka Sirait said the latest case further highlighted the government's failure to regulate the industry.

"This is yet [more] evidence showing the government has been defeated by the tobacco industry," he said.

"The growing number of smokers [is] a result of the industry's aggressive marketing targeting young people."

The government makes about $7bn a year in excise taxes from the industry, which employs thousands of people on the island of Java.

In another case, a 2-year-old boy who smoked about 40 cigarettes a day managed to kick the habit after he received intensive specialist care in 2010.

According to the World Health Organisation, smoking rates have risen six-fold in Indonesia over the last 40 years.

Smoking kills at least 400 000 people in Indonesia every year and another 25 000 die from passive smoking.

  • Pat - 2012-03-12 14:30

    Shocking story. What he needs is a damn good hiding!

      Lyndatjie - 2012-03-12 17:21

      I agree - but start with the DAD first! Will he give in if his kid throws a tantrum to play with a loaded gun as well? What an idiot!

      Lara - 2012-03-12 19:29

      The father needs a good hiding. What does an 8 year old know about addiction and having to stop smoking?

  • Pythagoras - 2012-03-12 14:41

    That boy sounds like he needs a real good hiding! He is sitting on his father's head! Shame on you dad! How can you allow such a young boy to smoke and not go to school? He will become a criminal one day...

  • Alan - 2012-03-12 15:06

    If nearly half the country is living off of $2 a day, how the hell does an 8 year old get the money to buy two packets of cigarettes a day which according to this article costs more than $1? Also, his dad knows that he's smoking and he does nothing? My mom would of knocked me the f*** out if she caught me smoking at that age, and this excuse of a father just throws his hands in the air?

      Heiku - 2012-03-12 16:38

      If more than half of this country do not even have jobs how can you afford to comment on news articles on the internet?

  • reinhard.pettenburger - 2012-03-12 15:41

    Why blame the government? Clearly the father is not doing his job!!! Thats the problem with the world today, as soon as there is a problem lets balme it on anyone but ourselves!! Grow up take resonsibility for your actions and parent your child!! you poor excuse for a man!

  • nadine.hayward13 - 2012-03-12 16:55

    Bwahaha OMW this is so shocking I don’t know if i should laugh or start bad mouthing the dad and what de hell a 2 year old smoking 40 a day OMG at that age you can barely hold your own glass of cool drink what de hell lighting your own smoke....

  • Nasiefa - 2012-03-13 09:46

    WTF 8 years old ?????????????? sick world we living inn!

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