Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Marlboro “Man”

From a friend in Japan came a link to a video of a two year old in Indonesia with a two-pack a day smoking habit. Who wouldn’t be astounded, especially if there he is on video, doing cigarette tricks and working up to blowing smoke rings.

Ardi is two and a half and living with his family in Sumatra. His father introduced him to cigarettes when he was eighteen months old, and the child now smokes forty Marlboros a day. According to his mother, Ardi becomes cranky, violent and suffers withdrawal when not given his cigarettes. He is a chubby fifty-six pounds and his father claims he LOOKS healthy.

Indonesians view smoking as a bad habit, but not a particular health risk. One third of the population smokes. As for babies smoking in Indonesia, baby Ardi is not alone. Data from the Central Statistics Agency shows 25% of Indonesian children aged three to five have tried cigarettes, and 3.2% are active smokers. The government estimates that Indonesian families spend 11% of their income on cigarettes. Ardi’s habit costs his fisherman father $5.00 a day. Then there is the four year-old in East Java who not only smokes a pack or two a day, but curses like a sailor and embarrasses neighbors. He is under treatment in a hospital and is now ‘back to normal.’ Ardi is in a rehabilitation program under the supervision of the Child Protection Agency, and is also undergoing psychological counseling. The government has offered the family a new car if they can get Ardi to quit smoking.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America