A group called Action on Smoking and Health apparently performed a survey on the relationship between custody issues and smoking.
The group claims that the issue of smoking is an effective threat for a nonsmoking parent to use in court to gain an advantage in a custody or visitation battle.
That's extreme - but consider the source. After all, an anti-tobacco group with an agenda to promote conducted the survey.
In my opinion, a court will not cite cigarette smoking as a determinative factor in deciding a parenting plan. Imagine an otherwise fit custodial parent who loses custody simply because he or she smoked? Not happening. A parent will not be deemed "unfit" merely because they are a smoker.
And if smoking should be the sole cause of a parent losing custody, why wait until a divorce or custody case was initiated? DCF should be pulling children from homes all across the state. C'mon.
This is not to say that smoking is never relevant. It may be a factor if a child is asthmatic or has certain allergies and is exposed to smoking. In that example, the offending (smoking) parent lacks the capacity to understand and meet the needs of the child. That type of parent would not be considered "fit". In an extreme case, one could argue that exposing a child to smoking amounts to medical neglect.
See - it turns on parental fitness - not smoking itself.
Therefore, I say, if you got 'em go ahead and smoke 'em. (Of course, this says nothing about the health risks associated with smoking). It's really a matter of common sense. If you have children smoke outside. And don't smoke in the car.
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