Sun, 22 Sep, 2019

Breast Milk? Hell No! Light Me a Cigarette Mom

By Shrijak Shrestha

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4c_wI6kQyE In the video, the little fat naked kid constantly disappearing in the clouds of smoke like a Ninja is Ardi Rizal of Indonesia. During the filming of the video, he was a 2 year old kid with a 40 cigarettes a day habit. This strange video instantly went viral attracting more than 27 million views on YouTube, making the kid famous as the ‘smoking baby’. Well as it happens, this is not strange at all in Indonesia and apparently there are thousands of such ’smoking babies’ all around the country. Child Smoking

This is a picture of yet another famous smoking child who was taught how to smoke by his grandfather. Good job grandpa! So, how on earth do cigarettes reach the mouths of these innocent children? What kind of parents let their little kids smoke? Cigarettes are very cheap in Indonesia costing about a dollar a pack. They can be sold anywhere and to anyone. It is legal for a person of any age to smoke in Indonesia anywhere. Further, for decades, no information about the harmful effects of tobacco was provided to the consumers by the tobacco companies or the government. In many cases, companies even advertised tobacco products as beneficiary for health. According to research, Indonesia happens to be the fifth largest consumer of tobacco with more than 50 million smokers.  About 63% of Indonesian men are smokers. Moreover, the tobacco industry is the biggest contributor to the Indonesian economy and employs the highest number of people.  More than 10 million Indonesian people are directly or indirectly dependent on the tobacco industry financially.  Many tobacco companies also finance pro tobacco industry politicians and groups. With decades of minimum restrictions and tax exemptions, Indonesia has become one of the most profitable markets for tobacco companies. Many local and multinational tobacco companies have flourished in Indonesia while at the same time markets are shrinking worldwide. One of the major multinational companies operating in Indonesia is the American company Philip Morris International, producers of the famous Marlboro cigarettes. After strict regulations and taxation in USA they turned to Indonesia. Exploiting tax exemptions, companies like PMI have been able to invest hugely in advertisements. The advertisements target the young adults and brainwash the kids into thinking smoking is cool and exciting using TV commercials featuring young attractive people, sponsoring concerts and TV shows like the Indonesian version of American Idol and posting billboards around schools, markets and every other place. PMI even employed young attractive women to roam around the streets and advertise their cigarettes. banners All of these conditions have resulted in a society where it is perfectly normal for adults, teenagers and even little kids to smoke. It is perfectly normal to find little school kids smoking on their way to school. According to research of the University of Indonesia school of Economics 426,000 Indonesian children between the ages of 10-14 are smokers. Children Smoking In recent years, the government has taken a few actions, such as making it compulsory for companies to declare tobacco as harmful in every casing of their tobacco products, to reduce tobacco consumption. But why has the government done so little to combat tobacco smoking in Indonesia for decades? If more solutions are not introduced to control tobacco use in Indonesia, a whole generation of Indonesian kids will be lost. Thanks to the internet, at least the smoker baby was sent to rehab at the age of 3 by the local authorities due to international pressure. There are similar problems in Nepal. Until a few years back there were cigarette commercials everywhere. The government has been slowly taking major steps to control smoking in Nepal. However, it is still inconsistent. Ban on smoking in public places has not been properly enforced. According to the WHO more than 26 million people are regular smokers in Nepal. Nepal also has one of the highest rates of smoking among females around the world. Surya Nepal is one of the highest taxpayers in Nepal.  Smoking is rampant among teenagers. People need to stop sending their little kids to buy cigarettes!