Dr Manny's Notes

Video Shows Baby Smoking Cigarettes

A video of a smoking two-year-old in Indonesia caused an uproar after it appeared on YouTube in March, before it was quickly removed from the site. The video of the smoking toddler, Ardi Rizal, was allegedly captured by a reporter who visited the small village he lives in with his family.

Sure it's shocking to see, and I'm sure some people even got a laugh out of watching this child puff away. But the truth is, as adults we need to take this as a reminder to talk to our own children about why they SHOULDN'T be smoking cigarettes. Well all know the overwhelming danger that smoking presents_ Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, stroke-just to name a few-but we need to realize that adolescent smoking puts kids at risk for even more complications for permanent damage to growth and development.

According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, almost 25 percent of high school students in the U.S. smoke cigarettes, and another 8 percent use smokeless tobacco. The younger kids are when they start smoking, the more problems it can cause they face.

--People who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time quitting.

--About 30 percent of youth smokers will continue smoking and die early from a smoking-related disease.

--Teen smokers are more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs.

--They are more likely to have panic attacks, anxiety disorders and depression.

So even though this smoking toddler is not from the U.S., let him serve as a reminder to us all that we have a problem with adolescent smoking in this country. There are parts of this nation where the numbers are going up, and therefore parents should do a better job in monitoring and preventing this behavior in their children.

One simple way to do that, is to take matters into your own hands. If you don't believe me, I implore you to go to your local pharmacy, and for just a few dollars, you can by a nicotine testing kit. It's a simple urine test, and with 99 percent accuracy, you will find out if there is nicotine present. The kit can detect nicotine from two weeks earlier. "But mom, it wasn't me who was smoking, it was my friend, I just happened to be right next to him," - BULL! You do not test positive for nicotine from secondhand smoke, unless you are living in a bubble, like two gerbils! Wake up America! The video was not funny!