Originally posted September 8, 2011
You may remember my article on smokers being banned from fostering some time ago, but now it is actually happening. The Evening Standard reported that a couple in Essex were ten months into their application to foster a child when they were rejected. Why? Not for a history of sexual deviancy, abuse, violence, alcoholism, drug use or anything else that could be considered a worthy reason to deny an application, but because the husband had smoked two cigars in the last twelve months. You read that correctly – two cigars in twelve months and he was denied the right to foster a child, because apparently Essex County Council has a policy that a couple can only foster if they have not consumed tobacco in twelve months.
It’s a remarkable story and one that many of even the most ardent anti-smokers will not be able to condone or celebrate. This is, of course, for fear of secondhand smoke and the risks it poses to children, so let’s remind ourselves quickly on the actual level of harm posed by SHS. Using the EPA’s overexaggerated statistics, it would take 40,000 years of constant daytime exposure to produce one extra lung cancer than would be expected (H/T Michael McFadden), so it’s hardly the toxic stalker we’ve been led to believe and sure as hell you can bet your bottom dollar that exposure to two cigars won’t do anything to anyone.
The most criminal part of all this, though, is that it is the children who will suffer. Health officials and authorities can sing along to the “good of the chiiildren” tune all they want, and much of the time they can persuade people they are being honest; however, when it comes to denying children a good stable home because the parents had a cigar not so much lets the cat out of the bag but dumps an entire litter of kittens from a suitcase. There is no denying it and no defending it. It’s true negligence, in a world where we have too many children for adults to care for, two keen and eager parents are desperately trying to help a child and are being denied for no good reason. More to the point, at least one child that is now in care, feeling unloved, neglected, lonely, angry and frustrated and unable to grow and develop much within the confines of care could and should be waking up in a new home, with stand-in parents wanting to nurture and cherish it.
Only a moron would consider the tobacco usage the real threat here.