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Thousands of Indonesian children and babies are chain smokers

Thursday, November 11, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: children, smoking, health news

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(NaturalNews) Aldi Rizal was just 11 months old when he smoked his first cigarette, and by the time he turned two years old, the Indonesian baby boy was smoking four packs of cigarettes a day. And there are thousands of other chain-smoking babies and children across the South Asian country just like him that are addicted to smoking, which some attribute to a lack of tobacco regulation in the country.

If you have yet to see the viral YouTube video of baby Aldi smoking, you can check that out here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4c_wI6kQyE

Since the video first started to make news headlines around the world, the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection flew Aldi to Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta for rehabilitation, where he was allegedly able to eventually kick his habit. But thousands of other addicted children and babies across the country are still slaves to their smoking habit, and most may not get the help they need to quit.

According to reports, at least a quarter of Indonesian children over age 3 have tried cigarettes, and three percent of them are now regular chain smokers. And one reason why smoking is so common among children in Indonesia is because cigarettes are very cheap and accessible there -- costing roughly $1 a pack -- and there are virtually no limitations on who can purchase them.

In a recent MSNBC article on the subject, author Mary Schiavocampo recalls witnessing a ten-year-old child walking into a store and buying cigarettes without any problems. And the Indonesian landscape is littered with tobacco advertisements that appeal to children, as well as television, radio, and print ads with similar themes.

Another problem is that many Indonesian parents see no problem with their children smoking, and will even give them the money to purchase cigarettes. Once child mentioned in the MSNBC story, five-year-old Cipto, explained to reporters that he actually smokes with his mother.

Some are calling for increased tobacco regulations in the country in order to curb the child smoking epidemic, but others say that unless parents themselves begin to restrict their children's smoking habits, the problem will only continue.

Sources for this story include:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40024399
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