Two-year-old Indonesian learns to stop smoking

Taipei Times
10 June 2010

Ardi Rizal has cut down from 40 cigarettes a day to 15, thanks to lots of playtime and therapy help from child welfare officials. A chain-smoking Indonesian two-year-old has cut back to 15 cigarettes a day thanks to “therapy focused on playing,” a child welfare official said yesterday.

Ardi Rizal shocked the world when a video of him smoking a cigarette appeared on the Internet last month and drew attention to Jakarta’s failure to regulate the tobacco industry. Six months after his father gave him his first cigarette, the overweight boy from Sumatra was smoking 40 a day and threw violent tantrums if his addiction was not satisfied.

Child welfare officials called in to try to wean him off cigarettes said that when they played with him he did not smoke as much. “The boy has been able to reduce his cigarette intake significantly, very quickly, after the treatment,”

National Commission for Child Protection chairman Seto Mulyadi said. “The therapy focused on playing — we occupied him with toys so that he forgets cigarettes.” Simple toys and someone to play with were enough to take his mind off cigarettes, at least for a while. The therapists also encouraged Ardi to associate cigarettes with bad things. “The boy likes singing songs so we tell him that if he continues smoking, he won’t be able to be a singer one day, and it works,” Mulyadi said.

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