Chain-smoking toddler in rehab

A 2-year-old Indonesian boy who smokes 40 cigarettes a day is

receiving treatment to wean him off smoking.

Ardi Rizal started consuming cigarettes when he was 18 months old

and images of him smoking have been shown on international television after

local media reported on his nicotine habit.

The boy has been under the care of the National Commission on Child

Protection since late last month and is receiving psychological therapy,

commission chairperson Arist Merdeka Sirait said.

“We have managed to reduce cigarettes he smokes from 40 to 20,” he

said. “We keep him busy with activities such as learning, playing and going on

recreational trips, but it’s very hard to wean tobacco addicts of cigarettes and

it takes time.”

Sirait said the commission was also treating two other smoking

infants.

“Even no statistics is available, these cases show that smoking

among children is rampant, not only among children over five years old but also

infants,” he said.

“Many smoking parents are unaware of the danger of smoking and they

just give children their cigarettes when they ask for them,” he added.

He also blamed the phenomenon on blatant cigarette advertising on

television.

According to the Demographic Institute of the University of

Indonesia’s School of Economics, among youths, 13.5% use tobacco.

The government is drafting a tobacco control regulation that will

include restrictions on cigarette advertisements, a ban on selling cigarettes to

children as well as restrictions on sponsorship by tobacco companies.

 
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