Saturday, May 29, 2010

Newsy: Smoking Baby Ignites Outrage

Ardi Rizal is only 2-years-old, but he smokes 40 cigarettes a day, with the help of his father.
Meet 2-year-old Ardi Rizal from the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The toddler smokes two packs of cigarettes a day – and has been addicted for 6 months. Reports indicate Ardi will smash his head against walls and throw tantrums if he isn’t smoking.
The video of Ardi was released Thursday - media outlets - and the world alike are outraged at the boy's father – who doesn’t think it’s big deal and says his toddler looks healthy.
We are monitoring coverage from NBC, The Boston Herald, New York Daily News, and The News Chronicle.
On NBC’s "Today" commentators discuss how unhealthy the child really is – calling it child abuse: “They say he’s 55 pounds and he likes to scoot around on this so he doesn’t have to walk because he gets winded." 
Anchor: "No he can’t keep up with other kids. This is child abuse. This is shocking."
Anchor 2: "Oh it’s terrible.”
But could he be an example of a larger problem in third world countries? An article in the Boston Herald says yes: “Scandalized anti-tobacco advocates say it shows what a vice grip the cigarette industry has on the third world.”
Child smokers are a growing problem in Indonesia – The News Chronicle and The New York Daily News bring statistics on the trend.
The New York Daily News: “25% of Indonesia's kids ages 3 to 15 have tried smoking.”
The News Chronicle: “According to statistics, about 3% of Indonesian kids between the ages of 5 and 9 are active smokers.”
Government officials have offered to give the family a car if the child quits - but they declined.
So what do you think? Can the boy be helped? 
Writer: Charlie McKeague

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