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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Children *Do* Smoke - In Indonesia

When a video of 2-year old Ardi Rizal smoking hit YouTube earlier this week, only Gawker recognized that the baby is "cooler than you;" most self-righteous prudes' knee-jerk reactions were what you'd expect, calling for his parents' arrest, insisting they are abusing him, and so forth. But Rizal's father said the child throws a tantrum when they don't allow him to smoke. And experts say it is a growing trend in Indonesia, the world's third-largest tobacco consumer; statistics show that children who smoke regularly, ages 5-9 are up from .4% to 2.8%. Further, 25% of children ages 3-15 have tried smoking.

The government has taken small steps to cut these numbers, including raising taxes and enacting laws limiting the areas where smokers can light-up. Child-protection advocates say limiting tobacco advertisements is needed to reverse the cycle.

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

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