When he was just two years old, Ardi Rizal went viral for an incredibly strange and disturbing reason: A picture of him chain-smoking hit the Internet, and people simply couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The outcry around the world led to the Indonesian government cracking down on child smoking and cigarette sales, and since then Ardi has kicked the habit.
However, this young man has since replaced his smoking habit with something else, and it’s equally as troubling. Instead of cigarettes, it seems that this little boy is now addicted to food, and according to a recent documentary about him, it’s a habit that’s equally as hard to break.
Now, you can see the most recent photos of this little boy in the story below. He seems to be pretty happy — but his lifestyle might not be the best for him.
This is Ardi, from the Sumatra region of Indonesia.
In this photo, he looks like normal, hearty toddler, simply enjoying his bottle with gusto.
But Ardi’s picture went viral two years ago, and it’s not hard to see why.
According to the original story, he’d gotten up to smoking about 40 cigarettes per day at the time.
The imagery was pretty confusing for us to see.
Something about a bouncing baby boy, puffing cigarettes freely truly messes with the mind.
When the images first surfaced, it seemed like no matter what he did, he was smoking.
His kid-life felt pretty typical, minus all of the cigarettes.
One has to wonder how he picked up the habit.
And more so, even if he had access to them, who taught him to do it?
We’ve heard of getting a kid his first squirt gun or toy…
But no one usually hears the phrase “baby’s first cigarette.”
His mom said it was just something he picked up.
And once he decided he wanted to smoke, there was no stopping him.
In fact, in an interview with 20/20, mom admitted something pretty troubling.
She said that when she tried to get him to quit smoking, he would violently bang his head against the wall in protest.
Cigarettes are powerfully addictive for adults.
It makes sense that a young person without proper coping mechanisms would become irrational when denied the powerful drug.
It also begged the question if Ardi was an anomaly.
Were other kids in this part of the world falling victim to the same habit? When 20/20 met with him, his mom was at her wit’s end with the issue, and with having a kid with such an unusual problem.
By the time the story went viral, he’d gotten up to 40 cigarettes a day.
That’s two whole packs, more than most smokers dare to enjoy in a 24-hour period. This kid was serious about smoking.
Over time, he managed to get the habit down to five per day.
Still not great, but definitely a vast improvement from what was going on before.
Now, the little guy has kicked the smoking habit.
But apparently, he’s picked up overeating instead.
As you can see, he’s quite big for his age.
Unfortunately, his weight has something to do with his quitting smoking, ultimately swapping one health issue for another.
To quit smoking, he was taken to play therapy sessions in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta.
His parents were also given instructions, on how to keep him away from cigarettes and the dangers of smoking.
They were successful at getting him to quit.
One of his therapists, Dr Kak Seto, still sees Ardi and his family at regular intervals to ensure he is not falling back into old habits.
Unfortunately, it’s harder to apply these rules to food.
Unlike cigarettes, we need food to survive the day. Avoiding it is impossible, which is why Ardi is having a harder time controlling his diet.
Mrs Rizal is now worried about her son’s weight, as he weighs about double what a child his age should.
She described how he now demands food in the same way he used to beg for cigarettes, and the family struggles not to give in to his tantrums.
It’s a daily struggle, but one the family is committed to working on together.
Little Ardi might not have his health in check just yet, but he’s happy, strong, and working towards health and wellness every day. Plus, he says he’ll never pick up another cigarette again.
Ardi got hooked on junk food. By the time he was 6 years old, Ardi was morbidly obese. His parents, finally willing and ready to see their son healthy, connected him with a nutritionist and placed him on a strict diet.
Ardi now has kicked both of his addictions. He has vowed to stay away from cigarettes and junk food and has been doing great so far.
Though his story began as a heartbreaking one, Ardi proves anyone can overcome unhealthy habits with determination and support.
In the video below, watch Ardi enter the rehabilitation program that ultimately helped him kick the habit.
Source: Life Buzz