5-year-old Semarang boy addicted to smoking

A five-year-old boy in Central Java province has resorted to scavenging for cigarette stubs on the streets to feed his smoking addiction, an official said.

Kevin Adriansyah, from the provincial capital Semarang, has been hooked on cigarettes for a year, apparently because his divorced mother is also a tobacco addict, said Sri Indrayati, a local village chief.

“He often sneaks out of his house, carrying his own matches, to look for cigarette butts and light them,” Indrayati said.  

“Her mother has been a heavy smoker for 20 years, so it’s a case of child imitating his parent,” she said.

A recent medical check revealed that the boy was suffering from bronchitis, the village chief said.

His mother, Sri Lestari, told Viva.co.id news portal that the boy often went outside to smoke.

“He usually smokes at the intersection or outside a nearby shop,” she was quoted as saying.

She said her son sometimes fell ill and fainted, a symptom she linked to the tobacco habit.

The village chief said health officials would visit the family next week and send both to rehabilitation. 

Indonesia has the world’s largest number of smokers among men. 

About 72 per cent of male Indonesians aged 15 or older smoke in 2012, according to a recent World Bank report, an increase from 68 per cent in 2010.

According to the 2014 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 18 per cent of Indonesian youths aged 13-15 smoke.

In 2010, a YouTube video of a toddler from South Sumatra, Aldi Rizal, smoking 40 cigarettes a day attracted worldwide attention, prompting authorities to send him to rehabilitation.

Indonesia has not signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and cigarettes are relatively cheap.

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