Photos: “Marlboro Boys” Depicts Children Smoking in Indonesia
Canadian photographer Michelle Siu documents kids smoking in a country where most people use tobacco—and many start in early childhood.
As smoking rates decline in the US and many parts of the globe, the smoking rate in Indonesia continues to soar. In fact, over 60% of the country’s male population smokes or otherwise uses tobacco regularly. The country’s economy is heavily dependent upon its booming tobacco industry, so many Indonesians subsist off tobacco farming and are exposed to cigarettes at an early age. Children have been known to take up the habit as young as four.
Canadian photographer Michelle Siu documents this phenomenon in a series of photographs (below), called Marlboro’s Boys. “Tobacco consumption in Indonesia is a complex issue as it is intertwined in the country culturally, politically and economically,” says Siu. “You can’t take 10 steps before seeing a tobacco advertisement or someone smoking.”
The series illustrates children’s loss of innocence, as she explains: “They inhale and exhale like old men that have been smoking for years–some of them have been smoking two packs a day since they were little kids.”
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