- Aldi Ilham has smoked since he was four
- One-third of Indonesian children try smoking before the age of 10
- Michael Bloomberg committing cash to Third World programmes
By Jill Reilly
PUBLISHED: 12:09 EST, 22 March 2012 | UPDATED: 13:34 EST, 22 March 2012
As he expertly takes a drag on his cigarette outside his home, it is hard to believe that the person smoking is just eight-years-old.
But Aldi Ilham, from Sukabumi, Indonesia, has smoked since he was four-years-old and gets through a pack of 20 cigarettes in just one day.
Although his age is shocking to the Western world, it is not such a rare sight in Indonesia where is is estimated that about a million children in Indonesia under the age of 16 smoke, and that one third of Indonesian children try smoking before the age of 10.
The young boy is now receiving help for his addiction, but his small body has already been seriously damaged from the effects of his destructive habit.
It’s not the first time a shocking photo of a child smoking in Indonesia has emerged – a few years ago a series of photos were released showing two-year-old,Ardi Rizal, whose health has been so ruined by his 40-a-day habit that he now struggled to move by himself.
Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on earth, appears to be in the clutches of an uncontrolled tobacco habit.
In Indonesia, it is perfectly legal for a child of any age to buy and smoke cigarettes.
The release of Aldi Ilham’s shocking photo, coincides with the news that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, is committing $220 million to go towards reducing tobacco use in countries with a high number of smokers.
The billionaire who made reducing smoking one of his signature causes as mayor and is expected to announce his four-year commitment to Bloomberg Philanthropies at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Singapore today.
The new commitment will bring the total amount he has directed to his eponymous charity to over $600 million since 2007.
‘Tobacco kills every day, so we need to keep the fight moving forward and keep the momentum going,’ Bloomberg said in a statement.
Bloomberg, who made his fortune in the financial services industry, was ranked fifth on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of 50 of the ‘most generous donors’ for 2011.
His new commitment will go toward evidence-based initiatives including smoke-free laws, graphic pack warnings and raising taxes, charity officials said.
The focus will be on country-level change, particularly in China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Bangladesh, which officials say account for the largest share of tobacco use in the world.
As mayor of New York City, Bloomberg has steered public health policy to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, parks and beaches; launch numerous advertising campaigns to alert consumers to the hazards of tobacco use; and raise the price of cigarettes through taxes.
James Colgrove, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and author of ‘Epidemic City: The Politics of Public Health in New York,’ said there was a great deal of evidence supporting the tobacco reduction initiatives that Bloomberg Philanthropies and the city have pursued.
‘Tobacco related illnesses is a huge global epidemic. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable death,” he said, adding that Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of a number of organizations that have committed to reducing tobacco use worldwide. “This is a priority for the entire public health and medical profession.’
Tobacco is linked to the death of 6 million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Most deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.