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The mother of a two-year-old boy who started smoking when he picked up butts from the floor has admitted that she now gives him two packs of cigarettes each day to stop him crying or misbehaving.
Rapi Ananda Pamungkas (“Rap”), who lives at Sukabumi in West Java, features in a video that has gone viral on the internet, provoking both disbelief and consternation. It shows him chain-smoking on a motorbike, watched by his smiling 35-year-old mother Maryati.
She said he likes to smoke “while drinking coffee and eating cake” and refuses to go to sleep unless he has a cigarette.
“He has been smoking every day for around two months. If I don’t give him a cigarette, my child goes berserk. He will start rampaging and crying,” Maryati said. “He likes to do it all day. He can smoke about 40 every day.”
The toddler became hooked when he started picking up discarded butts alongside Maryati’s market store which older boys would light for him as a joke. Then he was given cigarettes by market customers and eventually began pestering passersby, the Daily Mail reported.
Rapi’s father Misbahudin, 40, who also occasionally smokes, said he did not understand how the boy had become addicted. “I cannot say no to him when he asks for a cigarette,” he said.
The couple, who said they will take Rapi to a doctor to see if they can overcome his addiction, were slammed by netizens for not taking care of their son.
Indonesia has more than 61 million smokers, with two-thirds of the male population saying they are active smokers. About 9% of people who are under 18 smoke regularly.