Ardi Rizal of Indonesia’s South Sumatra province smokes around 40 cigarettes a day, reports The Daily Mail, London.
But the image covers up a much more disturbing truth: At the age of 2, Ardi Rizal’s health has been so degraded by his 40-a-day habit that he now struggles to move by himself.
The four-stone Indonesia toddler is certainly far too unfit to run around with other kids – and his condition is set to rapidly deteriorate.
But, despite local officials’ offer to buy the Rizal family a new car if the boy quits, his parents feel unable to stop him because he throws massive tantrums if they don’t indulge him.
His mother, Diana, 26, wept: ‘He’s totally addicted. If he doesn’t get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall.
Ardi will smoke only one brand and his habit costs his parents £3.78 a day in Musi Banyuasin, in Indonesia’s South Sumatra province.
Ardi’s youth is the extreme of a disturbing trend. Data from the Central Statistics Agency showed 25 per cent of Indonesian children aged three to 15 have tried cigarettes, with 3.2 per cent of those active smokers.
The percentage of five to nine year olds lighting up increased from 0.4 per cent in 2001 to 2.8 per cent in 2004, the agency reported.
Child advocates are speaking out about the health damage to children from second-hand smoke, and the growing pressure on them to smoke in a country where one-third of the population uses tobacco and single cigarettes can be bought for a few cents.