INDONESIAN TODDLER QUITS SMOKING AND INSPIRES MILLIONS AROUND THE WORLD
September 4 2010
Jakarta, Indonesia – It seems unbelievable now but there was time when cigarettes were not only considered healthy, but were actually endorsed by doctors as a cure for many ailments. While there’s little doubt that many of those doctors were on the
payroll of cigarette companies, there was widely accepted attitude that smokes were at the very least harmless and any obvious issues, like yellowed teeth, were a small price to pay for the overall benefits provided by the tobacco sticks. Things have changed of course as more information concerning the actual contents of cigarettes, but at one time, not even that long ago, things were different.
It is now of course widely accepted that cigarettes cause a variety of diseases from cancer to emphysema to heart problems and that has led to a massive erosion of the their popularity. Once the epitome of cool, smokers are now forced into small cliques, secreted away from regular society and ostracized from the world. That, perhaps more than the health issues, has pushed many smokers to try to abandon the habit and though many fail, many succeed and help push the world towards an inevitable smoke free environment. Now smokers around the world have a new figure to look towards for morale support in the form of one of the most famous smokers of the modern age, two-year old Ardi Rizal who has apparently just quit the tobacco sticks for good.
“When the video first appeared the boy was taken from the home and has been undergoing intensive treatment. He has stopped smoking and doesn't ask for cigarettes anymore. He needs to be in a smoking-free environment so that he doesn't start smoking again,” said Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission on Child Protection. “Smoking is a major issue in the this country, nearly one third of the nation smokes, and that makes it a great challenge for young people to resist the temptation. Luckily we believe that this young man has avoided those pitfalls and will now be able to live a happy and smoke-free life.”
The boy made a stir earlier this year when a video of him chain smoking became a viral hit on YouTube.
“Quitting smoking is difficult thing for anyone, particularly the young. Not only are they in a situation where they are prone to impulsive behaviour, they are also subject to the wills of their peers which makes addiction very easy and very common. It is unfortunately one of the many follies of youth,” said Scrape TV Health analyst Rebecca Phelps. “I myself have never smoked but I watched my father try over and over again. Eventually he did succeed but he had already done the damage to his body and died of cancer. Like many people he started at a young age, though not as young as this boy, and that made it very difficult for him to quit. Luckily this child has a head start, even if he does seem like a loser to his friends.”
Rizal has been in a group program with other quitters but will eventually be forced to mingle with other children his own age who have varying levels of addiction.
“One would hope that this young person could be an example to others, not only in Indonesia but throughout the world. To know that someone so young has the willpower to stop could prove an inspiration to others who are also struggling with the demon of smoking,” continued Phelps. “Hopefully he will be able to stay clean. Many people quit and then fall back into their old behaviour. I really hope that that doesn’t happen here but I guess we will have to wait and see.”
Rizal was sporting a two pack a day habit at his peak.
Lauren Hebert, Health Correspondent