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Chinese toddler claims to be world's youngest smoker


BEIJING, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - A two and a half year old Chinese boy from the city of Tianjin could be the world's youngest smoker, China Radio International (CRI) reported on Tuesday.

The child, identified as Tong Liangliang, was encouraged to smoke by his father. Liangliang was born with a hernia, but was too young for an operation. The father gave his son a cigarette when he was 18 months to try and relieve his pain.

"The father wasn't aware how serious the toddler's habit had become until the child began to increase the number of cigarettes he smoked per day," CRI said.

Liangliang now smokes a pack of cigarettes a day and refuses to quit. Every time he sees someone smoking, he asks for a cigarette too and becomes agitated and angry if refused.

In 2005, a 37-year-old Chinese man submitted an application to the Guinness Book of records, claiming he had started smoking at the age of three and was the world's youngest smoker. His application was denied on the grounds that it promoted a harmful habit.

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