As parents in Georgia are working to settle a child custody case there are many things to consider, but now smoking may be added to that list. Whether or not a parent smokes is now a consideration in child custody cases in as many as 18 states.

In Georgia, a mother was subjecting her child to second-hand smoke. Because the child had asthma, a judge considered it reason enough to change a previously settled child custody agreement.

There are documented cases where parents have been prohibited from smoking around their children. There are even cases where parents have been ordered to stop smoking in their home 24 hours before a scheduled visit.

Some would argue that prohibiting parents from smoking around their children is an overuse of the state's power, but one judge went so far as to say that a court that does not prohibit a parent from smoking "fails those children whom the law has entrusted its care."

Although there are many reasons to quit smoking, child custody may now be another reason to quit. However, parents in the middle of a child custody battle who decide to quit smoking should be cautioned that a judge may be concerned that they will start smoking again once the case is settled.

Instead, it may be beneficial for parents who smoke to begin smoking outside and to prohibit other people from smoking around their children.

Smoking is bad for your health and it is also an expensive habit. Although those are good reasons to kick the habit, it may even more beneficial to quit smoking if it meant being granted child custody.

Source: The Washington Times, "Smokers losing child custody cases a growing trend," Myra Fleischer, Feb. 21, 2012