You might be surprised to hear that until earlier last month, most councils in Britain would prevent those who smoked e-cigarettes from adopting children under five years old. . E-cigarette users have been considered in the same category as smokers of conventional tobacco cigarettes, making their homes ‘a risk’ for young children.
After a piece was published in the Mail on Sunday back in February, highlighting one particular couple’s heartbreaking experience, and calling the policy ‘misguided’, adoption chiefs have overturned the ban, and changed the way that vaping is viewed by social workers. The popular newspaper “told how a professional, middle-aged couple had been barred from adopting after a social worker spotted the would-be father ‘smoking’ an e-cigarette”. The couple themselves were understandably devastated, when they found that all of their efforts to adopt within Staffordshire County Council would be for nothing as they answered ‘yes’ to a question about whether or not they had used an e-cigarette in the last 12 months.
“When there are so many children desperate for a family and a stable home, to put up such trivial barriers is ridiculous”, the couple said, reflecting on the experience. They had already proven they were financially stable, had a good home life and were capable of raising a child before their request was denied by social workers.
The British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) produced guidelines which suggested “that users of e-cigarettes be considered as smokers’ until concerns about the devices were cleared up”. There have, however, been numerous studies which have highlighted the fact that e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke and the risk to others is ‘extremely low’, the latter having been taken from a report published by Public Health England in 2014.
The BAAF have commented on their sudden policy change, saying that “agencies should…recognise the low risk to children and not see the use of e-cigarettes as a reason to preclude foster carers or adopters purely on this basis.” It certainly is a dramatic u-turn, as they also said outright that “e-cigarettes appear to have positive benefits for smokers when providing them with a route to abstinence and the risk to children from passive smoking is lessened.”
This is brilliant news for anyone in the UK who vapes and has also made efforts to adopt, or is planning to. At Simply E-Liquid we welcome any changes to the law such as this, which end the way vapers are often stigmatised and held to the same standards as tobacco-smokers.