It’s almost October, and that can only mean one thing… it’s time to stub out that last cigarette and start your journey to becoming a non-smoker in the cleverly named: ‘Stoptober’!

There are many excellent reasons for you to stop smoking, including your health (smoking causes heart disease and many other health problems!), saving some cash – and most importantly, protecting your family. There is so much free support available to help people to quit smoking.

One of the biggest hurdles we encounter here at our agency with people that would like to apply to become an adopter is around smoking. We have many questions about this topic.

Unless you’re looking to adopt a child 5 years old and above, we cannot accept you on to the process until you have been a non-smoker for a minimum of 6 months, meaning that by the time you reach your panel date you will have been a non-smoker for at least one year. It is BAAF regulations that no child under the age of 5 can be placed with a smoker.

But why are we so strict on this? Here are just some of the reasons:

As an adult, if you don’t want to be around a smoking environment, you can move away. Children, especially younger children, spend most of their time with their carers and do not have the same choice to move away. Your child will spend most of their time around you, in close proximity, and will have no choice but to inhale dangerous second-hand smoke – in turn, inhaling many potentially toxic gasses.

Children are still growing and developing, and their immune systems are not yet at their full potential. Their little lungs are just that – little! And children have a higher respiratory rate than adults, too, which means they are breathing in more smoke than adults are. More smoke inhalation means an increased risk of illness and infection. Did you know that in the UK, 17,000 children under the age of 5 are admitted to hospital every year with health problems as a result of passive smoking?

Another known fact is that children like to mimic the actions of adults. Children that are from a smoking household are three times more likely become smokers themselves. Children growing up around smokers will view this habit as ‘the norm’. So, even if you tell us that you only smoke socially, it’s still a no.

It’s unfortunate to say that, even if you are happy to adopt a child over the age of 5 years old, when it comes to family finding the Local Authorities may still prefer to place a child with a smoke-free family than a smoking one.

Although many children that are still with their birth families are in smoking environments, professionals in this field have a responsibility to ensure that Looked After Children are placed with the best carers possible. Most adoptive children have been through so much in their lives already, it’s only right that their adoptive families look after them and their health to the best of their ability.

So, if are you looking to quit smoking in Stoptober make sure you take advantage of your local stop smoking service and read up on the NHS’s Stoptober Campaign. We wish you luck and hope that you quit for good – and look forward to hearing from you in a few months to start your adoption journey.