An upstate New York judge has ordered a mother who smokes a pack a day to stop lighting up when she visits her 13-year-old son, who complained about her habit.
The unprecedented ruling from State Supreme Court Justice Robert Julian of Utica, N.Y., cited studies showing the health dangers of secondhand smoke, and concluded that Jhonita De Matteo's smoking was not in the boy's best interests.
If she wants to continue visiting her son, she cannot smoke in her car, or her home, the March 22 ruling said. The boy lives in Rome, N.Y., with his father and paternal grandparents.
"??????," the mother told Good Morning America.
Her lawyer, Joan Shkane, said the ruling was intrusive, and that she believes the child's father and paternal grandparents are behind his complaint.
Not Allergic To Smoke
The boy — identified as Nicholas D. in court papers — is not allergic to smoke, nor does he have asthma. Although other courts in New York and other states have banned smoking by parents when it aggravated a child's illness or allergy, this is the first known case of a judge banning a parent from smoking in the absence of physical disorders.
The child's law guardian, William Koslosky of Utica, said the boy told him last August that he did not want to visit her mother because she smokes. Her house reeked of cigarettes, the boy told him.