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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
June 2018
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The Harmful Effects of Tobacco on Pets

Harmful Effects of Tobacco on Pets

Tobacco smoke doesn’t just affect humans; smoking in the home can also harm pets. Exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke can cause cancer and other illnesses in animals.

Examples of exposure include:

  • Pets breathe secondhand smoke, inhaling all the toxins it includes.
  • Pets may eat cigarettes or drink the liquid from electronic nicotine devices such as e-cigarettes. Both contain strong toxins.
  • Because pets groom themselves by licking their fur, they may ingest poisons that have settled on them.

Researchers have found that exposing dogs to tobacco smoke is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer as well as cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses. Dogs with longer snouts are more susceptible.

Cats living in smoking households are more than twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma compared to cats living in non-smoking households. Dogs, cats, and other pets sometimes develop allergies or skin problems when exposed to secondhand smoke.

The best way to protect your pets is to not smoke or use electronic nicotine devices around them. Avoid using tobacco in your home or car even if your pet is not present because the toxins settle into carpeting, upholstery, and fabric, causing third-hand smoke exposure.

The only way to prevent exposure is to quit or use tobacco products outdoors at least 20 feet away from windows and doors. If you do go outside to smoke, remove your outer layer of clothing and wash your hands thoroughly when you come back inside. In addition, never leave cigarette butts, vaping liquid, or nicotine replacement products (such as patches or gum) anywhere your pet can reach them.

Commit to a smoke-free home for your family, pets, and visitors by filling out a smoke-free home pledge today: https://breatheeasymaine.org/smoke-free-homes-pledge/

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