Smoke-Free Foster Care

Policy Overview:

All licensed foster care providers are prohibited from smoking tobacco in the indoor areas of a foster care area and in any vehicle used to transport foster care children.

Foster care providers may smoke outdoors away from the children in their care, but not in their presence. Additionally, licensed providers must keep their home’s grounds free of tobacco product litter, including cigarette butts. Click here to view information on the ordinance

Why is this policy important? 

  • Children are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of secondhand and third-hand smoke exposure.
  • Secondhand smoke is a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, potentially fatal respiratory tract infections, frequent and severe asthma attacks and middle ear infections which are often related to hearing problems. 
  • When children are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are more likely to be at risk for type 2 diabetes and to experience heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in their lifetimes.
  • Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke also tend to experience more learning and behavioral problems than children in nonsmoking households and are more likely to become smokers in adolescence or adulthood.

Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Low birth weight—a leading cause of infant death
  • Potentially fatal respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Ear infections which often relate to hearing problems
  • Greater risk of asthma, with more severity and frequency of attacks
  • Toxic litter—cigarette butts are poisonous and can be fatal when ingested by children and pets.

What are the benefits of a smoke-free home?

  • Everyone is healthier breathing in smoke-free air
  • Risk of health problems is reduced
  • Children will be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Risk of a fire starting is reduced
  • Children will be less likely to start using tobacco if the adults that care for them are not seen smoking
  • Your home will smell better, cleaning will be easier and even your pets will be happier

With the help of Start Noticing, Redwood, Cottonwood, and Jackson Counties have implemented a smoke-free foster care policy.