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2nd Hand Smoke Study re: Pets

March 13th, 2007, 10:10 PM
Research shows damage of second-hand smoke to pets

Dr. William K. Fauks
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Thursday will mark the 30th year of sponsorships by the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout” — which means no lighting up for one day. You might wonder why I would mention this in an animal-related column. Well, if you are an individual who still lights up around your dog or cat — and many do — you could be killing your companion through the life-threatening effects of second-hand smoke from cigarettes and cigars.

If smokers need extra motivation to quit smoking, concern for their dog, cat or bird just might figure into the equation. Let’s hope so.

With all of the available information and education on the subject, smoking still remains the leading preventable cause of human deaths in the United States. As the Surgeon General states, “The debate is over.”

In a recent animal study at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine on the effects of second-hand smoke, researchers found that “cats living in homes with smokers are more than twice as likely to get feline lymphoma (a form of cancer) as compared to cats who live with non-smokers. In fact, cats who lived with a smoker for five years or more had triple the risk, and cats who lived in a two-smoker home had four times higher risk.”

Pretty convincing evidence.

Veterinarians long had thought the major cause of feline lymphoma was a specific virus, but it’s looking like it’s probably caused by a nasty habit practiced by humans.

Because of their tendency for diligently grooming themselves, cats in a smoking household get a double dose of the 4,000 toxins and 20 carcinogens present in secondhand tobacco smoke that is deposited on their fur. Daily grooming by such cats, during a long period, adversely affects the delicate tissues in the mouth, resulting in oral cancer and cancer of the lymph nodes in this area.

In dogs, second-hand smoke is significantly associated with nasal sinus cancer. This is particularly true in long-nosed dogs, such as collies. Their passages have a greater supply of cells where carcinogens may be deposited, and thus a greater chance that some of these cells can be mutated by the carcinogens into cancer cells. Further research also has proven conclusively that cigarette smoke is related to several other health-related illnesses in pet animals, including high blood pressure, reproduction problems and a variety of respiratory abnormalities.

Getting back to the original topic — smokers who decide on Thursday to “put it out for good” will have lots of company. The American Cancer Society’s Facts and Figures Report indicates that, contrary to popular belief, there are more than 46 million ex-smokers who have successfully quit smoking cold turkey. If you’re blessed with the companionship of a dog, cat, canary or guinea pig, you have an extra incentive — and just think of all those big vet bills you’ll be saving.

(Dr. William K. Fauks is a retired Oklahoma City veterinarian. For questions, write to “Ask a Vet,” at 3142 Venice Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73112, or e-mail

March 13th, 2007, 10:40 PM
Awesome, thanks for sharing this post. Just another reason for people to quit smoking!

March 14th, 2007, 12:13 AM
Yep. :fingerscr :highfive:

March 14th, 2007, 12:17 AM
awesome post!! :thumbs up

March 14th, 2007, 01:26 AM
Excellent post, Terri!:highfive:

Any and all incentives for quitting smoking can only be helpful.
If you have pets.. you love them dearly.. and would never want to jeapordize their health.:sad:

As most smokers would never smoke around children... the same should apply to our cherished animal companions, who rely on us to keep them out of harm's way.

Thanks for sharing this important information.:thumbs up

March 14th, 2007, 02:36 PM
Yeah, thought this was very interesting. I actually found this when looking for a just finished similar study at University Saskatchewan that was in my vet's alumni magazine.

March 14th, 2007, 03:25 PM
Thanks for posting that article. I've always thought that and anyone that comes to visit has to go outside if they need to smoke.

marsupial mama
March 14th, 2007, 05:41 PM
Amazing. Twenty years ago my dad's wife's cat died of lung cancer and I rather facetiously asked how many packs it smoked a day. Poor cat didn't smoke but the woman who owned her did and still does. Last time i visited (they are a plane ride away) and sat on the sofa i came out reeking even though she was polite enough not to smoke in the same room as me when I was there.