Ardi Rizal: Two-year-old Indonesian boy who shocked world with 40-a-day cigarette habit kicks smoking… but now, aged only five, he is a 'demanding', junk food addicted market trader

Ardi Rizal has replaced one addiction with another that is arguably just as unhealthy

The two-year-old Indonesian boy who shocked the world with his 40-a-day cigarette habit has replaced nicotine with a new addiction… junk food.

Ardi Rizal made international headlines as a toddler when he was spotted chain-smoking while riding a tricycle in his remote Sumatran village.

The worldwide outrage over the photographs led Indonesia’s government to organise a special rehabilitation treatment for Ardi and launch a nationwide campaign to tackle the problem of child smokers.

Now, two years on, a documentary team in the village filming Ardi’s recovery has found that although the five-year-old has successfully kicked his cigarette habit, he appears to have replaced it with an addiction to fatty snacks.

The discovery will no doubt frustrate Indonesian authorities who spent a great deal of money on a high-profile campaign to rid Ardi of his bad habits, only to see him replace one addiction with another that is arguably just as unhealthy.

Ardi Rizal Ardi Rizal Ardi received extensive counselling and therapy sessions to help him overcome his nicotine addiction. One expert, Dr Kak Seto, continues to visit Ardi’s family on a regular basis to ensure he stays off the cigarettes.

In fact, it is Dr Seto that remains Ardi’s main inspiration. The boy’s 28-year-old mother, Diane Rizal, says that there are many people in the village who continue to offer Ardi cigarettes, but he now turns them down by saying “I love Kak Seto. He would be sad if I started smoking and made myself ill”.

Despite his young age, Ardi’s charisma has seen him successfully enter a career working on his parents’ market stall. Although he attracts lots of attention, his mother is disheartened to hear people still refer to him as “the smoking kid”.

Quoted by MailOnline, she says the name makes her “feel like they are accusing me of being a bad parent.”

Although he has recovered from his cigarette addiction, Ardi’s excessive food consumption is the latest unhealthy habit causing his parents concern.

His weight gain is such a worry that Mrs Rizal and her husband Mohamed chose to seek help from a nutritionist, who said their child is already 6kg overweight. She also said that the effects of his early-age smoking are more likely to see him gain excess fat because of the way nicotine effects hormone, insulin and glucose levels in the human body.

Ardi with his parents Ardi with his parents The reason from Ardi’s continued compulsions are unknown, but his parents blame the fact he is incredibly demanding. Mrs Rizal says she originally used cigarettes to appease Ardi, adding that she tried the same trick with food when he was showing signs of anger during his nicotine withdrawal.

She also says that, due to the sheer number of people coming in and out of the family home, it is very difficult to prevent Ardi from taking food for himself.

His favourite food is apparently condensed milk - consuming at least three cans a day - and his carbohydrate intake is also said to be extremely high.

With his poor nutrition proving such a concern, Mr and Mrs Rizal have put their son on a strict diet, taking advantage of the abundant fresh fish, fruit and vegetables available in the village. They have also demanded Ardi’s sibling refrain from giving him junk food no matter how much he demands.

Child smoking in Indonesia is a major concern, with up to 30% of the country’s 80 million children taking up the habit by age 10. 63% of Indonesia’s adult men smoke – the highest male smoking rate in the world - and in 2008 over 165 billion cigarettes were sold in the country.

Ardi’s story can be seen in full on Elephant Man: Body Bizarre, shown at 10pm this evening on the TLC UK channel.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Assessor

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Sustainability Assessor...

Teaching Assistant

£12000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Secondary Teaching ...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...

Science Teacher

£110 - £150 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: This sch...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?