A top anti-smoking group called on the Indonesian government Thursday to give the parents of a chainsmoking 2-year-old baby a kick in the ash.
“It’s clear the parents of this baby don’t understand the risk smoking poses to their child,” said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C.
Shocking photos of baby Ardi Rizal puffing away on up to 40 cigarettes a day had much of the world fuming.
“This reflects a pervasive problem in many low-income countries where tobacco companies market their products to an uneducated public,” Myers said.
He noted that anybody, at any age, can buy cigarettes in Indonesia, which is the only country in Southeast Asia that has not ratified the World Health Organization’s treaty on tobacco.
In Indonesia, the head of the country’s child protection commission blamed Ardi’s two-pack-a-day habit on advertising and clueless parents.
“A law to protect children and passive smokers should be introduced immediately in this country,” said Seto Mulyadi, who cited this stunning statistic – 25% of Indonesia’s kids ages 3 to 15 have tried smoking.
Ardi, who lives in the province of Sumatra, has another problem – he weighs 56 pounds. He’s too fat to walk far so he gets around on a plastic toy truck.
His mother, Diana, understands her son has a problem.
“He’s totally addicted,” his weeping mom told reporters. “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.”
Evidently, it doesn’t bother his father, Mohammed.
“He looks pretty healthy to me,” he said. “I don’t see the problem.”
On the Daily News’ Web site, readers reacted to that attitude with dismay.
“His father is an idiot,” wrote GangsR4Dummies.
“I would be shocked if he lived past 5.”