An eight-year-old Indonesian boy named Adi IIham smokes more than two packets of cigarettes per day, in a country which has no laws or age restrictions for buying cigarettes. Adi IIham, lives in Suka-bumi which is located in West Java with his family who earn a very low income and have a lack of health awareness.
He had his first cigarette aged four and how smokes around 25 cigarettes a day. IIham says that his mother gives him a small amount of money each day, all of which is spent on his smoking habit.
When asked whether he feels pain in his check or lungs after smoking he says he doesn’t. The 8-year-old no longer goes to school and spends his day smoking and playing.
His mother Nenah spoke out about her sons addiction to cigarettes saying that she has to let him smoke otherwise he gets very angry. Out of anger he has broken windows five times when he was told he is no longer allowed to smoke.
She went on to say that he does not go to school, as he is not allowed to smoke there, if he cannot smoke he will become angry. Without the 8-year-old in school, the family has to spend 20,000 rupiah (2 US dollars) for IIhams cigarettes each day.
The Government statistics in Indonesia state that cigarettes are the second largest household expenditure after food costs. In a population of 239 million, one in three people smoke.
The Head of the Children Protection Committee, Maria Anshor said that it is the government who are to blame for the lack of laws and regulations that allow young people to smoke.
She comments that if you are asking who is responsible for children like Adi being addicted to smoking then you should be looking towards the government, who should look at what regulations are required and implement them. She also states that Indonesia needs to stop the increase in young smokers, as the number of total smokers in the country has increased six-fold in the last 40 years.
Another reason young children are being exposed to the idea of smoking is because tobacco is allowed on television ads between 9pm and 5am and cigarettes are advertised on billboards, however they cannot be sold on school premises. But tobacco companies are not banned from sponsoring scholarships, sports leagues and dance events