What is a Smoking Policy?
What is a Smoking Policy?
Following the 2006 Health Act, the Government introduced a Smoking Ban effective from July 2007 making it illegal, with a few exemptions, to smoke in any public place.
Foster carers homes are not considered a “workplace” and therefore the rights of carers to smoke are balanced with the rights of children in their care to live in an environment that promotes their health and wellbeing.
Smoking and passive smoking carry health risks and are the single greatest cause of preventable and premature death in the UK. By the age of 16, most children will have experimented with smoking and this is a key age where behaviours are influenced. Smoke-free environments are proven to promote a cultural norm of non-smoking and providing information about the risks of smoking help to prevent young people from starting smoking.
Providing positive non-smoking role models can support young people who wish to stop smoking or to help them to quit.
As a carer, it is important to understand how detrimental the effect of smoking and passive smoking can be on your health and other people in the household.
During the recruitment process, there will be a discussion about the expectations and requirements of your fostering provider. They will encourage carers to make every effort to give up smoking and be clear that any carer or member of the household where people smoke cannot be approved to care for a child under the age of 5.
They should also not consider placing any child with a known middle ear, respiratory tract infections or prone to asthma and bronchitis in a smoking household, although exceptions, where a child can be kept with family members, could be considered “in the child’s best interest”.
It is recognised that smoking can be a response to stress and the household should be regularly reviewed through supervision with an agreement to follow a “smoke-free” plan:
- Carers and other members of the household, including visitors, will not smoke in the company of children of any age, in the home or in the car and will promote non-smoking as the norm.
- Smoking takes place outside of the home.
- All smoking products (tobacco, lighters, matches) will not be accessible to children.
Children & Smoking
As a Carer, it is important to understand how to respond to a child in your care that smokes. Often children are placed with carers in non-smoking households and may have other young children.
This will be a conflict of the expectations of your fostering provider and will need to be addressed and decide whether the placement is appropriate.
It is illegal for retailers to sell tobacco/e-cigarette products to anyone under the age of 18 and Carers are not permitted to provide children with Tobacco products.
It is crucial that Carers have a clear agreement recorded in the Placement Planning Meeting on what has been agreed if a young person is already a smoker, this should include:
- Agreement on a place to store any smoking products whilst the child is in the home and for the child to hand them over to the carer. This should be explained to the child by their social worker and recorded in the Placement Plan.
- The child will be expected to comply with the smoke-free plan for the foster home.
- The Risk Assessment should reflect discussions and plans to reduce the potential risks within the home to property and people.
Who Can Help?
It is recommended that Carers discuss any concerns or plans about smoking with the Child’s Social Worker as part of the child’s health plan. The Looked After Nurse and the child’s GP can offer advice and support to quit smoking.
Carers should also check with their Household Insurance for any exclusions or conditions which may apply to their Policy and keep their Insurer up to date with any information which may affect the protection offered.
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