Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Passive Smoking Worse Than Being In Care Says Council.

Whilst smoking is a bad habit and should be discouraged this is ridiculous:

Smokers in a north-east London borough will not be able to foster children from January 2010 - unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

If a child is in care then that is a pretty exceptional circumstance all by itself. If there were a surplus of foster carers then the policy might be justified as a way of filtering the candidates, but according to everything I have heard there is in fact a shortage. The justification for the ban is that most evidence suggests that various risk factors correlate with being in a smoking environment and this is true. However there are also strong correlations between poor life outcomes and being in care. and it seems implausible that children raised in households with smokers do worse than those raised in care homes. So the reasoning behind the ban demonstrates an inability to quantify risk.

7 comments:

JuliaM said...

I thought you were looking for something less depressing to write about...? ;)

Ross said...

Good point.

Mark Wadsworth said...

and children raised in households with smokers do worse than those raised in care homes.

Whence did you glean this nugget?

Ross said...

Sorry that was a typo. I'll correct it now.

TDK said...

Interesting contrast to this story, wherein we learn of care workers giving children cigarettes. I doubt this is atypical.

At university, a flatmate worked with a charity that took children in care on trips, (such as to the seaside). I went on several trips. It was noticeable that virtually all the children smoked and whilst professional carers were not (at least openly) supplying the cigarettes, they were providing lights and smoking with the children. Tacit approval.

I would bet money that the proportion of children in care homes that smoke is higher than the national average.

The underlying assumption of the liberal is that the state must be preferred unless the private alternate is perfect. They spend inordinate amounts of time devising new measures to highlight the deficiencies of the private but very little on the deficiencies of the state.

Ross said...

"I would bet money that the proportion of children in care homes that smoke is higher than the national average."

You are probably correct, it wouldn't surprise me if it is higher than the proportion of children raised in smoking environments who smoke, as well.

Mark Wadsworth said...

and it seems implausible that children raised in households with smokers do worse than those raised in care homes.

Aha, that makes more sense. I suppose I could be contrary and ask what evidence you have to support that particular supposition ... (being a child of ex-smokers and having smoked like a chimney for the past quarter of a century, I'd agree with you, but hey)