Child Custody Determinations and Smoking

child custody and smokingAn astonishing one third of the country’s population smokes tobacco products.  It is well established that smoking is extremely bad for your health.  It causes many forms of cancer, asthma, and numerous other health problems that most of us are aware of.  In fact, smoking alone will rob the average person of about 25 years of their life expectancy.  We all wonder, “Why does anyone even think of starting to smoke?”  Well, the fact is that almost everyone that smokes starts at a young age, most before age 19.

Second-hand smoke is also known to cause serious health problems.  The U.S. Surgeon General has established this fact.  Lung disease and heart disease are among the leading consequences of consuming second-hand smoke.  And it only makes sense that this type of consumption typically takes place within a home or a vehicle, putting children at a high risk if their parents partake in the activity.

Young children do not choose to smoke.  Their parents presumably would not allow them to smoke.  But when parents choose to smoke around their children, they expose their children to second-hand smoke, and also to the culture of smoking itself—increasing the possibility of the children choosing to smoke at a later age.  Most would agree that these ideas make sense.  In fact, some family courts also agree.  See In re Julie Anne, 121 Ohio Misc.2d 20, 2002-Ohio-4489.

Custody determinations are governed by the Ohio Revised Code, which stresses that “The best interests of the child” is the weightiest consideration.  Some family courts are considering smoking in the presence of children to be a form of child abuseId.  This is not just in Ohio; family courts in other states have modified parenting time based on one parent smoking in the presence of the child(ren).

Considering the foregoing, it is not advisable to expose your children to second-hand smoke.  And further, parents should realize that family courts are now taking this factor into consideration when determining what is in the best interest of the child.

Custody determinations are stressful for parents and children, and should only be handled by an experienced family law attorney.   The family law attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP know the law, and they will listen to you and answer your questions, helping you all the way through the process.  Please give us a call at   1-800-297-9191 or send us a Blog Message and make an appointment to talk or meet with an Ohio attorney who understands.

To learn more about child custody and family law matters in Ohio, please visit 

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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