Health and Wellness

Quitting Smoking for the New Year? Do it For Your Cat!

Have you been searching for a good reason to stop smoking? If you’re still not convinced enough to give it up for your own sake, would you consider quitting to protect your cat from harm?

smoking with cat

Remember, pets living with smokers are far more likely to develop cancer as compared to those that live with non-smoking owners.

What You Need to Know

Secondhand smoke, also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS, is generally associated with a wide array of serious health threats for people, including life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Because ETS smoke contains countless toxic compounds like benzene and formaldehyde, it makes sense that the same lethal substances that imperil humans might also put the health of cats in grave danger.

As a matter of fact, exposure to secondhand smoke seems to be worse for dogs and cats as compared to the smoker himself.  You see, most people tend to spend time away from the home while their animals stay behind, breathing-in stagnant air that sticks around in the house for several hours. For several years, vets and other experts have suspected that pets of smoking individuals are more likely to acquire certain respiratory illnesses and cancers.

Now, there is sufficient data to substantiate this hunch:

What Existing Studies Reveal

A 1998 study conducted by Colorado State University researchers which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology uncovered a higher prevalence of sinus cancer and nasal tumors in dogs that live with smokers as compared to those who live in a smoke-free home. The study showed that the sinus or nasal tumors were particularly common among breeds with long noses such as German Shepherds and Retrievers. Sadly, the pooches which have developed the disease rarely survive more than a year.

In addition, the same research revealed higher rates of lung cancer in dogs with short to medium noses like Bulldogs and Boxers that live with smoking owners. Because of the breeds’ shorter nasal passages, it is easier for cancer-causing particles to reach their lungs.

Another research study published in the same journal found that pooches living in smoking households tend to have a 60% higher risk of lung cancer.

A Tufts University study conducted in 2002 revealed that cats living with smokers are twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes and that is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it.

What You Can Do

Exposing your family and pets to secondhand smoke will definitely not improve their health. If you are a smoker but want to protect your loved ones as you work your way up to giving up smoking, try the following safety measures.

  • Take it outside. Smoking outdoors will help prevent a great share of toxic smoke particles from settling inside your house or car.
  • Buy a high-quality air purifier to lessen toxic loads in your home.
  • Try changing your clothes right after smoking or airing them out outside.
  • Before you touch your cat, make sure that you have washed your hands well after smoking.
  • Keep your ashtrays clean and always see to it that you dispose of cigarettes, patches, nicotine gums, snuff, etc. in receptacles where Fluffy can’t gain access.
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