Child Abuse? Ardi Rizal – Smoking Baby

Ardi is two years old and smokes 40 cigarettes a day.  His father introduced him to smoking when he was 18 months.  His parents say he screams if he doesn’t have a cigarette in his hand.

Smoking is a popular activity in Indonesia.  It’s socially acceptable although smoking is more frequent among lower income earners and men are more likely to smoke than women.  The same profile as in Western countries, but a lot more of it happening.  Cigarettes are cheap and are sold in small packs of as few as ten.  Many vendors are happy to break a pack and sell singles.  You can also buy single cigarettes from peddlers at traffic lights.

By far the most popular type of cigarette is the kretek.  Kreteks are a blend of tobacco and cloves (and other minor flavourings).  They are probably more harmful than tobacco-based cigarettes, they certainly seem more harmful if the heavier smoke and strong, sweet smell are anything to go by.  Menthol flavoured smokes also sell well.  Indonesians have a sweet tooth and that extends to smoking.

Just as 30 years ago in the West, cigarette companies are by far the biggest advertisers and are the biggest sponsors of recreational and sports activities.  They can afford to do this because their profits are immense.  There are many rags to riches stories from the early 20th century of young men who got in at the beginning of the cigarette industry.  To get an idea of the profits to be made, you need only visit the House of Sampoerna Museum in Surabaya or drive past the huge Gudang Garum estates in Kediri.

Separating Indonesians from their kretek is going to be a long and hard fought battle.  I feel that it’s probably a battle that doesn’t need to be fought now, considering the many other problems there are to deal with.  Improved public education would help, combined with gradual increases in cigarette taxes.

As for Ardi?  I think it’s more a case of parental stupidity.  You can see from the clip that the boy has been taught swear words and how to make faces to entertain adults.  The fact that he cries when he can’t get a cigarette is a lame excuse.  Any responsible adult, even in Indonesia, knows that it’s unhealthy to smoke, and his parents are responsible for him.

There are claims on the internet that he can’t run.  Well, he is a little fatty and stubborn, why would he run when he has a tricycle.  The claims that child welfare has taken him into custody are untrue.  However it appears that his mother has finally been shamed into seeking help in curing him of his addiction.


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3 Responses to “Child Abuse? Ardi Rizal – Smoking Baby”

  1. Miranda Reitz Says:

    Take GABA 800 mg. a day, Glutamine and Tyrosine. Also Lobelia and an herbal sleep combo with Hops/Skullcap/Valerian. You have to supplement the brain chemistry for 3-4 months until the brain’s natural production is jump-started again. Smoking shuts it down, that’s why the withdrawal from the drug is so painful.

  2. Kongkor Says:

    Yes I agree on the stupidity of his parents of the highest level! Not only stupid, but highly irresponsible. They may think that this is funny and they seems to be encouraging it.

    While I am not an anti-smoking campaigner, I am neither an advocate for smoking. Being a smoker myself, I believe that smoking is a choice and the rights of each individual when they come of age. Having said this, a smoker have to be mindful of the surroundings when lighting up.

  3. jakartanna Says:

    oh, I hope that the kampung people would not fall into believing that this boy has that special case of reincarnation (of a heavy smoker) or being possessed by a smoking demon. 😛

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