Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Smoking 18 month old

On the Spanish news last night, the last item of the broadcast was about how the rate of smoking has gone up five percent recently (in the past year?) despite someone dying once each minute due to cigarettes.

To illustrate their story, they showed an obese toddler from what appeared to be a low-income community in Indonesia. He was sitting on the porch of a hut, his fat congealed into rolls, puffing away on a cigarette. With his family looking on calmly and a gaggle of kids staring, he took one cigarette and lit it from another lighted cigarette. After his smoke, he lay down with a bottle of milk.

The accompanying text said he started smoking at age 18 months and that his parents started him and encouraged the habit.

This was contrasted with news about Chinese children speaking out against smoking and preparing posters depicting the dangers.

I wonder what in the world (other than an extremely low education level) would inspire parents to start their 18 month old smoking. They seem to be treating their child in the same way I’ve seen people treat monkeys or other simians behind bars, giving them dangerous substances to get a laugh at how difficult it is for them to handle the effects.

Is this child abuse or parental perogative? What do you think?

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