Monday, May 31, 2010

A 2-Year-Old Customer For Life

Two-year-old Aldi yanked on his mother's hair and squirmed in her arms. Tears formed a small pool in the folds of his double chin. "He's crying because he wants a cigarette," said Diana, his mother, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name. We caught up with Aldi, who is twice the weight of other babies his age.

Video of him inhaling deeply and happily blowing smoke rings had circulated on the Internet last week, turning him into a local celebrity.

"Smoking has been a part of our culture for so long it isn't perceived as being hazardous, as causing illness, as poisonous," said Seto Mulyadi, chairman of Indonesia's National Commission for Child Protection. "Adults will carry a baby in one hand and a cigarette in another. Even mothers don't understand that they are poisoning their children."

He said Aldi was a bright boy. He also said Aldi was a victim of his environment. But he told us what was disturbing was that the parents’ motivation to get Aldi to quit wasn't from an understanding of the risk to his health, but more from the cost of spending four dollars a day -- Aldi smokes an average of 40 cigarettes daily.

"Well, I don't want to give him cigarettes, but what I am I supposed to do?” his mother said. "I didn't let him smoke, I even forbade him from smoking." She showed us a scar on Aldi's head, where she said he smashed his head into a wall during one of his tantrums. She said he also vomits when he can't satisfy his addiction. (


Post a Comment

<< Home