Children Suffer Because Of Overreaching Tobacco Policy

Some government agencies just don’t have their priorities straight and it makes life tough for everyone. Clare and Paul Baker in the U.K., applied to be foster parents but were rejected after Paul said he smoked two cigars in the previous 18 months.

Apparently, the Essex County Council had an archaic and overreaching policy that required short-term foster parents of children under five to be tobacco-free for 12 months. Paul, believing that he should be honest to the agency, mentioned that he had one cigar at his brother’s wedding and another one at an office party. He also said that he never smoked at home.

However, when Clare and Paul Baker were ten months into the year-long process, (hoping to take a young child into their home by Christmas) the Essex County Council told the couple that they were not eligible because of Paul’s smoking activity.

Since when did cigar smoking become an illicit activity? Tobacco is a legal product and should not be treated as an illegal drug. It’s simply bad public policy to do so. In this case, the health risks to the children are nil because it’s clear that Paul doesn’t smoke at home.It’s also clear that this type of government action will make law-abiding citizens distrustful of government agencies; encourage citizens to be dishonest, waste taxpayer money, and further disadvantage children who need homes.

Paul, who owns a Londonrecruitment agency, said: ‘I felt absolutely gutted. I regret saying I had a cigar but honest is how I have always been…It is ludicrous considering how many children need homes. When they have policies like that there is no hope of giving these children a chance.’

They are considering making a formal complaint to the council and say they no longer intend to foster children because they are so outraged at the way they were treated.

I hope that on this side of the pond, we won’t make the same types of mistakes. On a related note, it’s a crucial time for us cigar smokers, so please contact our senators to exempt Cigars from FDA regulation:


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