Thursday, June 21, 2007

Smoke Without Fire

The smoking ban in public enclosed spaces and workplaces is just a few days away here in England and I must say I am in favour of it. I consider myself a non-smoker (having given up a couple of years ago) but once in a while after really too many beers I suddenly find myself lighting up and then regretting it and feeling awful the next day. I'm hoping that when the ban comes in I won't find it so hard to resist the urge. I also spend a lot of my time working in clubs and bars and I must admit I love being in Edinburgh and Dublin where the rooms aren't smoky and I don't have to wash my clothes and hair every single day.

That said I am very much NOT in favour of the proposals by the Fostering Network that smokers be restricted from fostering children. Now I understand that such a move may be in the best interests of children with respiratory difficulties, etc. However firstly there is a shortfall of 10,000 foster parents in this country. How is this measure going to help close that. Secondly I think people are well aware of the dangers of exposing children to secondhand smoke, and I would expect foster parent and regular parents to take care to smoke outside and away from the home. Thirdly - are we going to start putting contraceptive hormones into cigarettes? If children need protecting from adults who smoke, surely ALL children need protecting, not just those who are in the fostering system.

Of course what is really going on is a bit of panic-button paranoia... they are really trying "to avoid any risk of legal action from children whose health is damaged by smoking while in care". Hmm.. which begs the question - if children can sue the fostering agency for putting them with smoking foster parents, can children sue their own parents for smoking while they were young? And in fact can children in general sue their parents if they did a rubbish job of raising them? I know a few people who stand to end up very rich.

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