How Do Cigarettes Affect Your Pet's Health?

Redbarn September 29, 2016
How Do Cigarettes Affect Your Pet's Health?

When it comes to our health, we’ve all heard about the dangers of smoking. Most people are also aware that second-hand smoke, also known as passive smoking, can have the same harmful effects. But what about our pets?

Second-Hand Smoke and Pets

Many people are unaware that second-hand smoke can harm pets in the same way it does humans. We might not think about it, but if we expose pets to dangerous carcinogenic smoke, they have no control over it.

Researchers studied two groups of cats; one group lived in smoking households and the other did not. A cancer diagnosis was twice as likely for cats after one year of living in a smoking household.

After five years of living in a smoking household, a cancer diagnosis was more than three times more likely.

Several studies on other animals have produced similar results. Second-hand smoke is dangerous to animals and humans alike.

There is an extra risk for animals from passive smoking which, other than small children, most people do not face. Have you ever heard of third-hand smoke?

Third-Hand Smoke

Third-hand smoke is a relatively new finding in the world of tobacco harm reduction, but the evidence is clear and mounting.

Third-hand smoke is a product of residual nicotine and other chemicals left on surfaces by tobacco smoke. The residue can react with the nitrous acid in the atmosphere and create a toxic mix.

Third-hand smoke contains over 12 known carcinogens and is mainly dangerous when ingested. This is what makes it a danger unique to our pets. Adults do not spend their time putting random household objects in their mouth, but this is how our pets explore their world every day.

When someone smokes in the house pets will ingest these carcinogens when they groom themselves, eat from their food bowl, or play with a toy.

How Can You Cut Third Hand Smoking Risks?

Studies have shown that opening a window or smoking in a separate room is ineffective at reducing the spread of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke remains on surfaces for a long time.

So what can you do to lessen the amount of harm that comes to your pet via passive smoking? Apart from quitting smoking, the best thing you can do to protect your pet is smoke outside. This minor inconvenience will help keep your pet happy and healthy.

For more information on the dangers of third-hand smoke for pets, visit Quitza’s Campaign for Smoke-Free Pets.

About the Author: 

Chole bloom is an ex-smoker and tobacco control advocate. When she is not trying to end the tobacco epidemic she enjoys walking her dogs, grooming her dogs, and playing with her dogs!

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