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Can you foster if you smoke or vape?

Yes, you can become a foster carer if you smoke cigarettes or vape. However, there are a few restrictions on the ages of the children you can foster, as well as the types of fostering you’ll be allowed to do.

Guidelines for foster care and smoking

If you’re a smoker or you use an e-cigarette, this won’t stop you from becoming a foster carer. However, there are some restrictions around fostering a child, which all independent fostering agencies must follow.

  • You will be approved to foster any child aged 5+
  • You won’t be approved for Parent & Child fostering, as the child would be under 5
  • A foster child with a respiratory illness that might be aggravated by smoke wouldn’t be placed with you
  • Smoking and/or vaping must take place outside the foster home – for example, in the garden
  • It’s against the law to smoke in your when any children are on board.

Smoking and your fostering application

When you apply to foster children in the UK, you’ll be assigned an assessing social worker, who will help you with your application. Your application will cover the topic of smoking and/or vaping.

Again, it won’t go against you on your application if you do either. At this early stage, your social worker can reassure you about the restrictions and answer any questions you might have.

Health and welfare

It’s long been accepted that smoking is a hazard to health, including second-hand smoke, which is made up of around 4,000 poisons, irritants and cancer-causing substances. Keeping this away from children and young people in particular is clearly very important, not least because their lungs and other organs are still developing.

Using e-cigarettes or vaping doesn’t emit the same cocktail of toxins. Research is still ongoing about its risks but we take the line that, because we don’t know, we’re treating it with caution – no vaping at home with children present.

Setting a good example

The government reported on recent research  from NatCen Social Research, which showed that children aged 10 to 15 were more likely to smoke if a parent smoked. We ask our foster carers not to smoke or vape in front of a foster child anywhere, in the interests of setting a good example.

What makes us special?

Our foster carers have a lot of love to give. The majority of our foster children have experienced being let down by their care-givers. It’s beautiful to see the trust build between a foster carer and their foster child, and everything that flows from that.

Ella, supervising social worker

Stop smoking resources

In the UK, says the government, around 60% of smokers want to quit.

We know that some people find it difficult to quit but more and more people are giving up successfully. If you want to quit, you’ve got our full backing – you’ll be healthier and better off financially too!

The NHS Quit Smoking talks you through different ways you can quit. There’s even a free app and a personal quitting plan you can download. The British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK and many other organisations all have practical advice to offer about quitting smoking. Getting support – for example, through a group or via an app – seems to increase the chances of your success.

Can you foster?

We welcome applications from people of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, physical abilities and the LGBT+ community. You can be single, married, a homeowner or a tenant. Your ability to care for and nurture a child is what really matters.

If you’d like to discover more about your suitability, try our quick Can I Foster? tool or, if you’d like a chat now, get in touch.

Start your fostering journey with National Fostering Group
Find out if you could be a foster carer
Find out if you could be a foster carer
In a few simple questions, you’ll know if you’re suitable to apply to become a foster carer.