I’m watching 2 year old kids in Indonesia blowing circle shaped smoke from cigarettes on Italian television while airing out my clothes in the window to get rid of the tobacco smells from the nightclub last night. For the first time in Milano, I am not regretting not using the 7 series “How to speak Italian” that was uploaded to my iTunes folder. I’m certainly not homesick, but I do miss the no smoking indoors policies of Los Angeles.
It’s frustrating to watch video clips of babies smoking 40 cigarettes. I don’t understand the whole story because of language barriers. Initially I thought babies smoking cigarettes was just a YouTube phenomenon, but now realize it’s a global crisis, with kids starting to smoke at the age of 5. How does this happen in the modern world? The reporter shows maps and stats from around the countries, including India, and I am a little relieved that I can’t understand exactly what is being said.
In my study of social entrepreneurship here in Europe, I have met people who have dedicated their lives to solving problems in their communities. How can the world allow this problem to keep growing? I thought we started addressing tobacco issues a few decades ago, but I am starting to think we just exported the social problems elsewhere. Has there really been progress? I once heard from a distinguished CEO that it is actually better to have your employees smoke, because you end up paying less in healthcare in the long run because they don’t live as long as non smokers.
It seems like companies are exploiting the third world on new levels now, but I am clueless how this began. In this situation, I think that they are being somewhat counterproductive, because creating acceptable environments for toddlers to start chain smoking removes them from future labor markets, which is like short selling their future assets.
Let’s give the tobacco companies the benefit of the doubt… I think that the local cultures and families ultimately carry the responsibility and accountability for their children to not smoke. This is a critical time for social entrepreneurs to design programs that can educate and inform these families to change. The families in the video clips I watched seem to think it is cute that their babies can blow smoke into shapes. Lets figure out a way to get these kids building blocks and toy bubbles instead of cancer sticks, yeah? This is a prime example of a global issue in need of a social entrepreneur to step in.
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