Dubai: Smoking Saudi parents may lose custody of their children after divorce in the kingdom, the world`s fourth largest cigarette importer, with the country`s courts considering smoking a determining factor in such cases.
Courts in the kingdom nation could side with non-smoking parents, to protect the child from the negative impact of passive smoking, the Arab News reported.
In July, a judge in the country ruled that women suffering from passive smoke, as a result of their husbands` smoking habits, could file for divorce.
"If a woman married a man and then found out that he is a smoker, and she mentioned in her court case that she is suffering from health problems related to the smoking habits of her husband, then their marriage should be ended," appeals Judge Ebrahim Khodairi was quoted as saying.
He, however, excluded the cases of women who were aware of their husband`s smoking habit, prior to signing their marriage contract.
Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest importer of cigarettes worldwide with an estimated 6 million smokers. There are about 600,000 female and 772,000 teenagers’ smokers in Saudi Arabia.
Other countries that have made smoking a factor in determining child custody include the United States of America, where courts in 18 states have ruled that a parent`s cigarette smoking habit should be factor in the custody battle.