Indonesia Children Smoking as Young as Two Years Old

Shocking data which was reported from the Central Statistics Agency that showed 25 percent of Indonesian children ages 3-to-15 have tried cigarettes, with 3.2 percent of those children being actual active smokers.

One such child named Ardi, lives in Sumatra (Indonesia), which is a small fishing village of Musi Banyuasin where 25% of children already tried smoking and 3.2% are active smokers. Ardi is two years old and smokes forty cigarettes a day. It was reported that the father of the child, gave him his first cigarette when Ardi was 18-months-old and that he said that he is not at all worried about the health of small boy because Ardi "looks healthy."

Two year old Ardi weighs 55 pounds and already has health issues such as difficulty walking and anger control issues. His mother, Diana, 26, reported that when Ardi does not get his cigarettes, he will scream, bang his head against the wall, feel dizzy and sick. Both Diana and Ardi's father confirmed this information and insist that her son is "an addict".

American's, when seeing a Youtube video of Ardi smoking were outraged and commented that Ardi's parents should be put into jail for allowing their child to smoke, or for even introducing him to cigarettes.

Ardi's smoking is the extreme of a disturbing trend in Indonesia. Organizations defending the rights of children in Indonesia began discussions on the health damage caused by smoking, in a country where one third of the population is addicted to smoking and cigarettes can be bought for about a few cents.

Furthermore, how can a country such as Indonesia teach children that smoking is harmful, especially in growing youth, when the country perceives smoking as a positive vice and cigarette companies are big sponsors of scholarships, sporting events and many different kinds of campaigns?

The chairman of Indonesia's child protection commission, Seto Mulyadi, blames the increase in youth who smoke on the aggressive advertising campaigns and also on parents who are smokers. He stated, "A law to protect children and passive smokers should be introduced immediately in this country." Tubagus Haryo Karbyanto, a member of the National Commission of Tobacco Control said the country of Indonesia must also address the social conditions that lead to smoking, such as family influence and peer pressure. Mulyadi is also attempting to put a ban on cigarette advertising; however, whether or not this happens is something we will have to wait and see.