The smoking ban planned for 2007 won’t just benefit the health of people - our pets’ lives should benefit too, according to the leading veterinary charity PDSA.
“The effects of passive smoking on humans is well documented, but pets are also affected by breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke, so it’s another good reason to quit,” says one of PDSA’s Senior Veterinary Surgeons, Elaine Pendlebury. “Pet’s play such an important part in so many people’s lives, and as owners we have a responsibility to care for their health and well-being.”
Research shows that cats exposed to second-hand smoke in the home were twice as likely to develop feline lymphoma, a type of cancer which can be fatal.
Cigarette smoke is also one of the most common causes of respiratory allergies in our feline friends, causing them to sneeze, cough and wheeze. Dogs are also very susceptible to smoking-related respiratory problems and their exposure to tobacco smoke has also been linked to nasal and sinus cancers.
In pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs, passive smoking can even contribute to hair loss.
If giving up completely is out of the question, there are ways to lessen the effect on pets. Try not to smoke near them, keep all rooms well-ventilated and encourage visitors to have a cigarette outside whenever possible.
Remember that a pet can’t tell us if cigarette smoke is affecting them, but over time their health will suffer. So next time the cat cuddles up to you on the sofa, or the dog affectionately sits by your side, please think about their health too! Best of all, why not take the dog for a walk to forget about those nicotine cravings instead!
For more information on PDSA visit www.pdsa.org.uk and for information on how to quit smoking, free local help is available from the NHS.