We all basically know the dangers of smoking. There are proven cancer risks, as well as other medical problems that can seriously alter the quality of a smoker's life. Many of us probably know at least one person who has gotten sick or died due to tobacco-related illnesses.
But do you know anyone who has lost child custody because of their tobacco habit? The Washington Times reports that the loss of custody is not unheard of in a situation where a parent is a smoker. Do you think that smoking is a valid reason for a court to limit a parent's access to his or her child?
Various states in the U.S. accept that whether a parent smokes has some standing with regards to being a fit parent. Those who believe that smoking should be considered when making child custody decisions highlight how it isn't just a smoker's health that is put at risk by tobacco; adults and children can suffer from the effects of inhaling secondhand smoke.
When a court is making a family law decision involving children, its goal is to serve the best interests of the children. If one parent smokes and the other doesn't (and there are no other serious safety concerns at play), the parent who smokes -- or who has friends and family who smoke -- could find herself at the losing end of a child custody decision.
Some critics of this reality related to child custody believe that taking custody away due to smoking could create a slippery slope. They wonder what's next. Could the courts start to look at each meal that a parent serves her child and see her as unfit because potato chips were served with lunch?
What do you think about this matter? Is a court reaching a petty level by punishing a parent for smoking? Or is smoking a life choice that makes a parent a danger to his or her child?
The Washington Times, Communities: "Smokers losing child custody cases a growing trend," Myra Fleischer, Feb. 21, 2012