2 Years Old Smoker – Bad Parenting or Bad Policy?

I for one is quite surprise to see this news spread internationally like wild fire for the last few days. Why? Because this boy is not the first case…yes – maybe first case that got such a spotlight – internationally none the less.

There was another boy from Malang that ‘made-it-on-the-news’ last month. This 4 years old boy’s case is more severe, not only that the boy puffing away but also cursing like a sailor. Good to hear that children rights activist group had interfere with government and the boy is now smoke free.

These are just a friction of child smokers in this country, the 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.

Although I am a smoker – yes I smoke since I was in college – it’s disturbing to read these kinds of stories. Both DH and I smokes but we do our addictions outside the house and yes I still hope someday we can nip this bad habit in the butt.

Now I can’t stop thinking about this little boy and his new international fame. Medias, international and local has been all over him and the parents of course to take pictures, videos. Does the parents seeks for help or they see the boy as a money making puffing machine? How on earth does a 2 years old get his hands on cigarette in the first place if someone did not give it to him?

As a smoker, if my son threw a tantrum because he wants a cigarette do I give in? Hell NO! He can scream his head off if he wants to! It’s another story if he’s a grown up *maybe at 21 years old!* and if he should ever decided to try smoking then it will be his own decision.

Would you give your son a knife if he bang his head on the wall wanting one? I don’t think so then why is it any difference with cigarette?

Is it a bad parenting – considering the parents of these boy lives in a very rural part of Indonesia where I would assume that their educational level are minimal? Or it’s simply because it’s so easy to buy them unlike in some countries? Heck, I was still asked to show my ID Card when I first got to Upstate, NY and went to buy a cigarette alone.

Yes, Indonesia is a smoking country – you can tell when you get off the plane and out of the arrival gate – the smell of clove cigarettes will welcome you!  Jakarta’s Governor had actually implement a new anti-smoking law that banned smoking in all air-conditioned buildings, including restaurants and cafes since last month. Does it work? Nope! I still see people smoking indoors or at cafes and restaurants. Without full law enforcements from the government and limitations on cigarettes ads this law will just fall flat on its behind.

This reminds me of the New York law, sounds similar…no indoor smoking! But the difference is in the States the law for cigarettes ads are more strict. No TV ads at all unlike here where they are all over the airways competing slots with baby formula! Cigarette also sponsors so many major events here from racing to concerts. So big KUDOS to Kelly Clarkson who ditched one of the largest cigarette company from sponsoring hers on the last minute.

I really hope for the sake of that boy, he will get some help he deserves!



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13 Comments on 2 Years Old Smoker – Bad Parenting or Bad Policy?

  1. Miel Abeille
    June 1, 2010 at 3:10 am (6 years ago)

    Cultural differences or not, if you still wear a diaper on your butt, there shouldn’t be one in your mouth, right?

    • Maureen
      June 1, 2010 at 3:29 am (6 years ago)

      Totally, Melissa! We would frown seeing a 15 years old smoking but at 2? Gosh!

  2. Pumpkin and Piglet
    June 1, 2010 at 7:53 am (6 years ago)

    I’ve been watching this spread around as well. I’m a smoker too but the sight of a 2 year old smoking really shocked me. It may be socially acceptable in some places but that’s not really the point, it’s already been said but cultural differences or not, 2 years old (or 4 years for that matter!) is too young.

    In the UK we have a ban on smoking in public places and cigarette advertising is also banned. Non-smoking in public areas is strictly enforced, people can be fined and establishments that allow smoking on their premises face huge fines as well. I will always support someone’s right to make their own decisions but 2 years old?!? No way. A child cannot make an informed choice of the risks involved and, like you say, how did he get hold of it in the first place?
    .-= Pumpkin and Piglet´s last blog ..Wooden spoons at the ready… =-.

    • Maureen
      June 2, 2010 at 11:12 am (6 years ago)

      Wish I can highlight what you & Melissa said above, it got nothing to do with cultural differences IMHO…it’s just plain wrong! UK sounds very similar to the US where cigarette advertisements and smoking areas are very limited. Sadly not here where the big companies lobby the government like crazy. Heck, our parliament members are smoking inside the meeting room!

  3. rimafauzi
    June 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm (6 years ago)

    I was a smoker. Started smoking when I was 10 and by 17 I was smoking 3 packs a day. I was so addicted that when anybody advised me to quit I always say, “I can quit when I die of that lung cancer you tell me I’m gonna get.”

    I quit cold turkey in 2005, after seeing a woman with jaw cancer had reconstruction surgery on her jaws using bones from her thigh. And she became ugly, fugly! I didn’t want to be ugly, and more importantly i didn’t want to be a burden to my loved ones, so I quit.
    Now, I can’t understand why I smoked in the first place. It’s a filthy and ridiculous habit, it’s wasting money, causing so many health problems to the human body and most importantly, it disturbed and harmed people around me, including those I love!

    I found after I quit cold turkey that my skin, taste palette, hair and health improved by hundreds of percents, and I also found that I became a stronger person emotionally and psychologically as smokers in general are weak people with addictive personalities and are generally selfish people (to not care what kind of harm they inflict upon others).
    I remembered that all my anxiety and nervousness went away when I smoked, but now that I have total self control and don’t need anything except the power of my mind to get me through the day, I feel so grateful that I managed to make myself quit smoking.

    That is why I think these parents who let their children smoke and especially the father of this 2 yr old boy should be tortured with cigarette burns if not jailed for child abuse! News like these are embarrassing for Indonesians in general as it makes us appear as if we are decades backwards in our thinking and as if we are unethical and illogical nincompoops.
    Such a sad story.

    • Maureen
      June 2, 2010 at 11:16 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Rima, thank you for sharing your experience. I always admire people who can break free from nicotine addiction! So, kudos! You’re right, about having our sense of smell and taste ‘return’ when we quit smoking because that’s exactly how I felt when I stop during my pregnancy and while I was still nursing.

      Yeah that is so sad that the father and the ‘visitors’ treated this sad thing as they’re watching a circus or something, like it’s a fun thing to watch! Sickening really. Oh I’m so with you about this kind of news makes it sounds like we’re a backward people that have no common sense – but maybe it’s just the parents whose in desperate needs of parenting 101!

      Glad to have you here, Rima! Oh btw, you should update your blog, girl! I love reading it.

      • rimafauzi
        June 2, 2010 at 11:19 am (6 years ago)

        Hey Maureen,
        thanks for taking the time to visit my blog! yeah I really should update my blog, I just dont have the passion for it anymore. now i’m into cooking and food photography.. i have such a short attention span.. hehe..
        yeah if i have something interesting to share will do so on my blog.
        yours is fab as well, keep writing!

  4. Heidi
    June 1, 2010 at 10:16 pm (6 years ago)

    It disgusted me how the parents of this boy seemed to embrace this behavior. They even sounded so proud of him. Giving him cigarettes, because you’re afraid your kid will give you tantrum? what are these people? monkeys? I can’t imagine how this little boy will turn out in the future. He’s 2 years old but behaving as if he’s a gang member. Bad parenting! Jeez, I swear that some people shouldn’t be parents at all. I hope this boy won’t become the trendsetter in his village.

    • Maureen
      June 2, 2010 at 11:18 am (6 years ago)

      Starting smoking before 2 years old by 15 years old he will have lung cancer if somebody didn’t put an immediate stop to this kind of child abuse. I sure hope not too Heidi, the exposure this poor boy got might be comprehended differently by others who will then try to get their own faces in the news.

  5. kerry@butlerway
    June 2, 2010 at 4:20 am (6 years ago)

    wow! Smoking is becoming more and more not socially accepted here in Seattle. If you smoke, you have to do it 25 feet away from a building and never inside unless a private residence. I grew up with a chain smoking mother and I really, really don’t like the smell of cigarettes so this rule is fine. I would have a hard time seeing small children smoking. for sure. those idiot parents need serious help.
    .-= kerry@butlerway´s last blog ..Guest Blogger: Alicia from A Beautiful Mess =-.

    • Maureen
      June 2, 2010 at 11:19 am (6 years ago)

      Totally agree with you Kerry, these people are poor living under average income but they managed to buy their son’s cigarette everyday is beyond me and the father proudly claimed that his son is healthy is so sickening. Someone should knock some senses into their heads!

  6. Natalie
    June 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm (6 years ago)

    This was shocking – my son is 2 and I couldn’t imagine him smoking. How do they afford to support the boy’s habit? Cigarettes aren’t cheap!
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..You Know You’re a Mom When-sDaze =-.

    • Maureen
      June 3, 2010 at 4:01 am (6 years ago)

      Totally, Natalie! The article said it cost the parents about $5.5 (USD) a day to support their son’s habit and that’s a lot of money for these villagers standard of living so it is crazy!


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