Urgent clarification is needed from Durham and North Tyneside Councils after confusion over e-cigarette guidance for adoptive and foster parents, said local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.
“In my view the guidance should say that loving couples anxious to provide a home for a child should not be prevented because of vaping.
“In the wake of a Staffordshire couple being barred from adopting after the would-be father was seen smoking an e-cigarette it has emerged that different councils have varying approaches.
“These I believe include North Tyneside and Durham local authorities who state they will not place under-fives with e-cigarette users.
“Many of the councils that take this stance cite the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which recommends ‘users of e-cigarettes be considered smokers’ until concerns about the devices are cleared up.
“They have concerns that e-cigarettes ‘may act as a “gateway” for children and young people to start smoking.’
“However Public Health England has found there was ‘no data’ supporting the claim and that it was ‘rare’ even for teens to experiment with e-cigarettes. And they have also recently stated that the health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour are… ‘likely to be extremely low.’
“It seems to me that the stance of the BAAF and the councils following their guidance needs urgently reviewing. Particularly as other councils follow alternative guidance from the Fostering Network, which says that people ‘should not be prevented from fostering or applying because of e-cigarettes use’,” said Mr Arnott.
“There are 69,000 children in care in this country in need of foster homes or adoptive parents and it seems that their chances are being hindered by politically correct social workers and conflicting guidance.
“They need to concentrate on the priorities of these children seeking a family life instead of looking for reasons not to provide it,” he added.