22 June 2011
A women exhales cigarette smoke inti the mouth og a gaunt, naked patient at a Jakarta clinic where tobacco is a openly touted as a cancer cure.
The western patient is suffering of emphysema, a condition she developed from dekades of smoking. Along with cancer and autism, it's just one of the ailments the Griya Balur clinic claims it can cure with cigarettes.
"I miss this", say the women, a regular patient, with an American accent.
Griya Balur would be shut down in many parts of the world, but not here in Indonesia, one of the new frontiers for big tobacco as it seeks to replace its dwindling profits in the health-conscious West.
Long traditions of tobacco use, combined with poor regulation and the billion of dollars that flow into goverments coffers from the tobacco industry, mean places like Griya Balur go unchallenged.
The "treatment" for the emphysema suffered includes the blowing of smoke from "divine cigarettes" infused with "nanotechnology" to remove their cancer-causing "free radicals," through a tube into her diseased lungs.
Smoke is also blown into her ears and nose, while she holds a cup of aspirin over her right eye. (---to be continued)