A young couple whose one-month-old son died after breathing in cigarette smoke has called for the government to shut down the country’s tobacco industry. “I hope the government will shut down the cigarette manufacturers,” said Fitria Lestari, the mother of the baby, as quoted by ABC.
Fitria’s son, Muhammad Hafizh, died of pneumonia after she and her husband hosted a family function, in which many relatives refused to put out their cigarette.
The couple said the baby suffered breathing difficulty after the family party and believes that the cigarette smoke is to blame. “We believe smoking was the main factor,” Fitria agreed. “Everything was fine before then.”
The couple, who said they were not aware of the potential damage of cigarette smoke, now holds strong views against cigarettes, which are sold very cheaply in Indonesia. “Cigarettes here are worse than narcotics — but narcotics only kills the user, while cigarette addicts kill the people around them,” Fitria said.
The tobacco industry is known to have a firm grip on the Indonesian market, particularly among the male population, with sixty-five percent of males older than 15 smoking daily. It is the highest rate of smoking among men in the world. The prevalence of smoking is assisted by very cheap cigarettes and community tolerance of cigarettes.