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Addicted Toddler Forces Indonesia to Ratify World Tobacco Treaty, Reports ASH
Indonesia has finally agreed to ratify a tough world antismoking treaty, but only after photos and video reports of a two-year old who is so addicted that he smokes two packs a day appeared on the Internet -- activists elsewhere may follow lead
By: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Now pictures of similar smoking babies in other countries are also appearing on the Internet, and activists in these nations may use their similar shock value to pressure their own countries to likewise ratify the treaty or to take other effective action to protect children, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), who is trying to kick start the movement.
This sudden concession by the Indonesian government comes less than a month after tobacco growers from six major Asian countries met at the first Asia Tobacco Forum, held in the Indonesian capital, and issued a formal declaration opposing the world treaty because of its alleged potentially devastating effect on the industry, lack of scientific basis, and violation of international trade laws.
But, as a direct result of the airing of news reports showing the two-year old child puffing away on cigarettes, and even lighting a new one from the one he is already puffing out, the Indonesian Ministry of Health has finally agreed to accede to and ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC], a world treaty which obligates countries to take stringent measures to protect children from becoming smokers.
The Chairman of Indonesia's National Commission For Child Protection said that inaction in permitting such abuses to occur would not only be a violation of the children's human rights, but also tantamount to genocide.
ASH worked with the Framework Conventional Alliance [FCA] and many other organizations to help bring the world antismoking treaty into effect and have it ratified by almost 170 countries.
Today ASH and the FCA continue to coordinate efforts at implementing and strengthening this historic treaty, and seeking to obtain effective enforcement in countries which have ratified it.
As a result of this new development, ASH has contacted thousands of organizations and antismoking activists around the world, suggesting that they search the Internet for still and video images showing infants, toddlers, and other young children from their own countries smoking, and then help publicize these images to pressure their own counties into taking more effective action.
If such images from their country haven't already appeared on the Internet, Prof. Banzhaf suggests that antismoking activists search out similar dramatic examples from their own nation and post them on YouTube and other web sites.
"All it takes is an inexpensive video camera or even a cell phone to take a brief video of a tyke smoking. Posting it on the Internet might have as much impact as the images of Ardi Suganda have had on the recalcitrant government of Indonesia," says Banzhaf.
PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law at GWU,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
FELLOW, World Technology Network, and
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America’s First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America's first anti-smoking and nonsmokers' rights organization, serves as the legal action arm of the anti-smoking community. It is supported by tax-deductible contributions.