In a previous post, we shared the good news that Ardi Rizal, the two-year-old boy from Indonesia who chain-smoked 40 cigarettes a day, has finally kicked his smoking habit. NBC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo, however, has disheartening news: there are more Ardi Rizals in Indonesia who are still very much into a cigarette habit.
Schiavocampo travelled to Indonesia to meet Ardi Rizal â€“ now a local celebrity of sorts in his town â€“ and uncovered the fact that there were other children like Ardi who were smoking even before they went to school. She reported that Indonesia is among the countries with the worst problems with child smokers. According to government figures, around 25 percent of kids in Indonesia over the age of 3 have tried to smoke cigarettes, while 3 percent are regular smokers even before they reached school age.
Schiavocampo shared that one of her research contacts said that Indonesia did not have good tobacco regulation practices. Tobacco companies serve as sponsors for such events as sporting events and music concerts, which are popular among kids and teens. Cigarettes are also relatively accessible in the country; they are cheap, and even young kids are allowed to buy them at stores.
As for Ardi, he is one of the lucky onesâ€¦ since a video of him smoking away hit YouTube, Ardi has received treatment with the National Commission for Child Protection. Initially, Ardiâ€™s mother shared that Ardi threw terrible tantrums after he was made to quit cold turkey. Play therapy helped him during his nicotine withdrawal.