A two-year-old boy from Hull, in East Riding of Yorkshire, has been taken from his parents after a government health visitor said they smoked too much.
Julie Allen, a health visitor from a local authority, told a family court that she had never come across such a “smoky house” before, and that the child and father were surrounded by a “visible cloud of smoke” when she visited. She claimed this made it difficult to breathe.
Another social worker said the unnamed child’s clothes and toys “smelt heavily of smoke”. The boy had recently experienced breathing problems and had an inhaler prescribed.
The Hull Daily Mail reports that Judge Louise Pemberton, who was also told of numerous other concerns about how the boy was cared for, decided the child should be placed for adoption.
The judge said: “On entering the living room Ms Allen described being able to see a visible cloud of smoke surrounding the father and (the boy).
“(The boy) was asleep on the sofa and had been unwell for some time by this point.
“Ms Allen described the room as ‘so smoke entrenched that I had difficulty breathing’. She immediately expressed concern to the parents as to the impact of such smoke on (the boy), who had already been prescribed an inhaler within the previous month to help his breathing.
“The parents seemed unable both at that stage and when the issue of smoking around (the boy) was raised by any other professional, to acknowledge or appreciate the concern and adapt their behaviour.”
The smokers’ group FOREST called it an “isolated incident” that “must not be used to stigmatise all smokers”.
Simon Clark, director of the group, told Breitbart London: “It’s important smokers are considerate to those around them, especially children, so we don’t condone smoking throughout the home if children are present.
“Nevertheless it’s important to stress that a number of other concerns were raised about the way the child was being cared for so it would be wrong to focus only on the smoking issue.
“The overwhelming majority of parents who smoke know how to behave around children. An isolated incident like this must not be used to stigmatise all smokers, nor should it be seized upon by those who want to ban smoking in the home.”