Two-year-old chain smoker can't kick the habit

Caroline Cassidy

Two-year-old Ardi Rizal, from Sumatra, has a 40-a-day cigarette habit. When images of the toddler chain smoking were released around the world, horrified officials forced the boy into a rehab programme. When an American news crew went to visit Ardi recently, they found him still puffing away on 15 cigarettes a day.

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Ardi started smoking at just 18 months old when his father Mohammed, a 30-year-old fishmonger, gave him a cigarette on a trip to the market. The toddler quickly became addicted to nicotine and now weighs four stone and is too unfit to play with other children.

His mother Diana claims that when she attempts to stop Ardi from smoking, he throws a tantrum.

She said: "He's totally addicted. If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick."

However, Diana is hopeful that the rehab programme will be successful for her son.

She told US news station CBS: "We hope he will quit. But I can't stand seeing him hurting himself.

"What can we do but to accept it is as it is?"

It wasn't until there was public outrage about Ardi's addiction that Diana realised how deadly smoking is for her toddler. Officials even went so far as to offer the family a car in return for helping Ardi quit smoking.

The boy is now cutting back through therapy focused on playing, and Diana is sure that once he's quit the evil weed, Ardi will be a healthy two-year-old.

She said: "If he can really quit smoking, he will definitely be a very healthy boy, without any disease."

Would you ever allow your child to smoke so much that they become and addict? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.