A controversial new policy to ban smokers from fostering children has been passed by Redbridge Council.

The decision was made at a cabinet meeting last night (Tuesday) at Ilford Town Hall, in an attempt to protect children in care from passive smoking.

The ban means children in the borough will not be placed with carers who smoke after January 2010 and current carers who smoke will be given help to quit.

Cabinet member for children's services Michael Stark said: "We have a responsibility to children in our care and smoking increases a child's risk of contracting many diseases.

"If people are smoking in the house regularly it can be quite disastrous.

"Most people seem to support it and I think it's a good idea."