At just the tender age of two, Ardi Rizal’s health has been so ruined by his 40-a-day habit that he now struggles to move by himself.
His mother, Diana, 26, wept: “He’s totally addicted. If he doesn’t get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick.”
Ardi’s youth is the extreme of a disturbing trend. Data from the Central Statistics Agency showed 25 per cent of Indonesian children aged three to 15 have tried cigarettes, with 3.2 per cent of those active smokers.
Seto Mulyadi, chairman of Indonesia’s child protection commission, blames the increase on aggressive advertising and parents who are smokers.
“A law to protect children and passive smokers should be introduced immediately in this country,” he said.