Second-Hand Smoke – A Triple Threat to Dogs and Cats

Image: Thomas Egan, Lolita ForrestIt makes sense that second-hand smoke affects the health of our pets, but our furry friends suffer a triple-threat from tobacco. In addition to the obvious danger of lung cancer, dogs and cats lick the residual tar and nicotine from their coats, which can cause mouth and throat cancers. Curious animals also face potentially fatal nicotine poisoning from eating any tobacco products they find.

A Tuft’s University study found that cats living in homes with smokers are more than twice as likely than other cats to acquire feline lymphoma cancer. This type of cancer was previously thought to occur as a result of feline leukemia. In a Science Daily report, Dr. Antony Moore of Tuft’s said, “The results of our study clearly indicate that exposure to environmental factors such as second-hand tobacco smoke has devastating consequences for cats because it significantly increases their likelihood of contracting lymphoma.”

According to an Associated Press report, “In households where they were exposed five years or more, cats had more than triple the risk. In a two-smoker household, the risk went up by a factor of four.” In some cases, cats were at higher risk for cancer than humans living in the same home.

Joe Camel Isn’t the Only Animal Who Smokes – Animals in Laboratories are Dying for Cigarettes

The 31st annual Great American Smokeout is November 15. Unless they’ve been living under a rock, smokers know that cigarettes are bad for them and for the people and animals in their homes. But not everyone realizes that smoking harms animals in laboratories too. Dogs, rats,primates and other animals are forced to inhale smoke and injected with nicotine in cruel experiments funded by the tobacco industry.
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The tobacco industry has funded experimenters who have cut holes in beagles’ throats and made them breathe concentrated cigarette smoke for a year. They’ve inserted electrodes into dogs’ penises to measure the effect of cigarette smoke on their sexual performance. They’ve confined rhesus monkeys to chairs with head devices and exposed them to nicotine and caffeine to determine how these substances affect their breathing. Cigarette smoke has been pumped directly into the noses of rats and mice.

Why? Tobacco companies say that they just want to determine how harmful cigarettes are to human health. But we’ve already determined that smoking can be deadly, and as everything we know about lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses has come from human epidemiological and clinical studies-not from animal experiments-there must be another reason for the tobacco industry to fund smoking experiments on animals.

This other reason, I believe, is that experiments on animals are misleading. Decades of study have shown that animals do not develop lung cancer as humans do. A 2002 paper in the journal Inhalation Toxicology blasted inhalation experiments on animals for failing to show that smoking cigarettes does increase the cancer risk in humans, noting that “significant increases in the numbers of malignant tumors of the respiratory tract were not seen in rats, mice, hamsters, dogs, or nonhuman primates exposed for long periods of time to very high concentrations of mainstream cigarette smoke.”

But the tobacco industry is still desperately grasping for anything that might convince the public that smoking isn’t dangerous. Cigarette manufacturers are perfectly aware that vast differences exist between species and that data taken from one species cannot always be correctly applied to another. Different species of animals vary enormously in their reactions to toxins and diseases, as well as in their metabolism of drugs. Yet millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of animal lives have been wasted on experiments that are so inhumane and pointless that they have been illegal in Britain since 1997.

It’s time for the tobacco industry to pull its head out of the clouds of smoke and be honest about the facts: Smoking causes cancer. It is a leading cause of pulmonary illness and death in the United States, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, influenza and pneumonia. Smoking contributes to cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and birth defects.

U.S. federal law does not require tobacco products to be tested on animals (American Spirit cigarettes are not). The money wasted on worthless animal experiments would be much better spent on education, health services, and addiction-treatment programs.

Does Smoking Impact Your Pet?

Smoking is a fatal habit that not only puts your life in jeopardy, but the lives of others around you as well. You have probably heard of the term second-hand smoke and are likely aware that it negatively affects people, but did you know that it can also affect your pets?

Research posted in, demonstrates that pets are equally as affected by second-hand smoke as humans. Dogs, cats, bids guinea pigs or your niece and nephew-tobacco toxins do not discriminate when it comes to the human animal divide.

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Animals exposed to cigarette smoke are at a high risk for developing respiratory illnesses and cancer. Like humans, animals exposed to second-hand smoke can potentially develop the following medical conditions:

Lung cancer
Nasal cancer
Nervous system disorders

In addition to the dangers of second-hand smoke, medical researchers at Harvard University were able to establish a third category of tobacco toxin transmission vis-à-vis animals and humans: third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is passed on to animals by smokers and non-smokers who have been exposed to cigarettes. Your nose always identifies third-hand smoke-think about that “smoker smell” that we have all had waft into our nostrils at one point or another. That is third hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is comprised of the poisonous particles and gases that remain on clothes, bags, hair and other materials touched by tobacco smoke. These poisons are then passed on to pets; young children are also particularly vulnerable to their toxins as well.

Another reason second-hand and third-hand smoke are particularly dangerous to pets is because they don’t get the chance to be mobile and in fresh air as much. Good dog owners walk their dogs a lot and let them out in the yard, but not all dog owners do. Most cats never leave the house and other inside pets are in the same boat. Thus, pets can be more entrenched in the toxins with little chance of escape.

If you are a smoker, then smoking cessation should be a top priority for your own health and the health of the friends and family that you love and care about. However, pets can provide you with the extra incentive to kick your tobacco habit for good. Most people don’t think that their cigarette smoking is bad for the dog or cat, but it is. Why continue with a habit that harms the creatures you have otherwise sworn to protect? Take the time to learn more about how to become tobacco free, by way of hypnotherapy smoking cessation for example, and increase the health and vitality of yourself and everyone around you.