The Indonesian government eventually stepped in and took Ardi and his family to rehab. He was only two years and eight months old. The hospital staff put him through a series of tests to check his health, which seemed to be fairly good considering his bad habit and his weight problem.
While Ardi was starting to ween off his beloved cigarettes, 20/20 did a story on Ardi’s issue being part of a larger tobacco epidemic in Indonesia. Many children smoke including other two-year-olds. One grandfather, who bought two packs of cigarettes a day for his toddler grandson, said that the boy stays healthy by drinking coffee. There is no age restrictions for the purchase of tobacco in Indonesia.
The tobacco industry employs over 4 million people in the small, impoverished country, and smoking is deeply ingrained in the culture. Some doctors tout the health benefits of smoking, or even use cigarettes as a treatment, in which the body is covered with cigarette smoke and nicotine residue to cure whatever illness you have. This procedure, which doesn’t cause pain, is performed on children as well.