Smoking bad for pets

By • Published: May 26th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Smoking can kill… your cat.

It’s a fact: Meows and menthols don’t mix. And apparently, just the idea that secondhand smoke could affect a pet’s health is enough for some smokers to snuff their cigarettes for good.

According to a new study, one-quarter of pet-owning smokers say they would quit or consider quitting if research showed that secondhand smoke could harm Fido or Fluffy.

About one-fifth of the three-thousand people surveyed for the study were smokers, while another fifth lived with smokers. These nonsmokers said concerns about pet’s health would make them more likely to forbid smokers from lighting up in their homes.

The Henry Ford Health System researchers who conducted the study say educating pet lovers about the risks secondhand smoke poses to dogs, cats and birds may actually help convince more people to kick the habit.

So, what risks are there? A Tufts University study found that cats were twice as likely to develop lymphoma if they were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Tufts researchers also found that cats that live with smokers are more likely to develop oral cancer.

Cats face unique risks because they not only breathe smoke, they also lick cancer-causing compounds that stick to their fur when they groom themselves. But smokers aren’t necessarily dog’s best friend, either. Dogs whose owners smoke face an increased risk of developing nose, sinus or lung cancer.

Want to keep your furry friends and yourself healthy? Snuff the smokes.