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The Smoking Babies Of Indonesia

It's been some time since the Smoking Baby went viral, and ABC's 20/20 thought it time to check up on him. Last we heard, he was down to a mere pack or two of cigarettes per day, which seemed like enough of an improvement — until ABC discovered that there's not just one Smoking Baby in that neck of the woods.

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It may sound unbelievable, but in Indonesia, it is completely legal for a person of any age to purchase and smoke cigarettes, which cost a mere dollar per pack. Children can purchase single cigarettes for 10 cents a pop right next to their school, which has advertisements for different cigarette brands plastered all around it.

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In their travels throughout Indonesia, 20/20 found other families with young children who smoke, like a 2-year-old who wakes up and immediately lights up. His grandfather, the man who lit the cigarette for him, says the child smokes two packs a day because, "it tastes good, like bread and chocolate." He says he thinks the smoking is okay as long as the child drinks enough coffee to balance it out. Right.

Finally, we meet the infamous "Smoking Baby," Aldi, who is now 4 years old and supposedly doesn't smoke anymore. He didn't quit on his own, though: "embarrassed local officials" sent him to rehab after the clip went viral. Aldi "misses" smoking 20 cigarettes a day and his mother is at his mercy; the kid threatens to smoke again if he doesn't receive new toys. Aldi's mother says she "wishes she had never let him start," and admitted off-camera that she caught her son smoking just a few weeks before the interview was filmed.

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DISCUSSION

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applejuice

Kids in many parts of the US smoked in the recent past and if there were no laws against it I am sure the tobacco companies would be delighted to have them as customers. (This picture is from the 1960's.)

My Grandma and Grandpa grew up in the mountains in Virginia. The kids there all smoked. I once asked my Grandma what age she thought she was a regular smoker by and said she couldn't even remember starting, it just seemed like she had always done it.