Ardi Rizal, the two-year-old Indonesian smoker is all over the internet. I've read over half a dozen blogs and articles relating to this in the last hour; I keep hoping that one or other will give me more insight on why this is occurring. I keep hoping to come across a blog that will say that this is just a joke. As I watched the video of this poor child smoking like an adult, I realize that this is a very problem. Supposedly, the smoking rate in Indonesia is growing. More and more children between the ages of 5-9 in this country are beginning to smoke. Furthermore, it is estimated that smoking Indonesian families spend 11% of their income on cigarrettes. This is disheartening to hear particularly because Indonesia is classified as a third-world country.
Back to little Ardi, his father gave him his initial cigarrette at 18 months. At 2 years, he is said to smoke two packs a day. His smoking, 56-pound frame is unable to keep up with children his age yet his father claims that he "looks healthy" to him. Ardi's mother, Diana says that Ardi becomes cranky, violent and suffers widthrawals when he is not given the cigarrettes. For heaven's sake, he is a little boy! Better he suffer from widthrawals and tantrums than lung cancer and other problems he will soon developed (if hasn't developed them already).
It makes me sad to realize that his parents probably know nothing of the ramifications Ardi will suffer. They probably find the whole thing amusing; perhaps showcasing their smoking baby is their way of achieving short-lived fame (as they have for they are all over the internet).
The Indonesian government has offered the family a car if they can make the child stop smoking. I hope they do.
Below is a clip of Ardi smoking :(