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Korea Times

Secondhand smoking can kill your pet

Not only can pets breathe in the chemical substances, but they ‘can also ingest them by licking their owner’s hair, skin and clothes,’ warns expert

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 11:57am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 December, 2016, 11:58am

By Lee Jin-a

Secondhand smoking can endanger household pets, U.S. health officials say.  

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the organs of dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and fish, increasing their risk of developing cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

The FDA has long warned that secondhand smoke can spread through the air and harm nearby people who inhale the fumes.

The agency also says people can be harmed by third-hand smoke, which originates from tobacco smoke residue left on skin, clothes, furniture and carpets.

 “If 58 million non-smoking adults and children are exposed to tobacco smoke, imagine how many pets are exposed at the same time,” says FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper.

“Smoking is not only harmful to people, it is harmful to pets, too.

“Like children, dogs and cats spend a lot of time on or near the floor, where tobacco smoke residue concentrates in house dust, carpets and rugs. Then, it gets on their fur. Dogs, cats and children not only breathe in these harmful substances, but pets can also ingest them by licking their owner’s hair, skin and clothes.”

The FDA says that when the pets absorb the cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke, they are more likely to suffer from nausea, weight loss, anxiety, fatigue and allergies, as well as cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

For example, if a dog already has breathing or lung issues, inhaling tobacco smoke can aggravate its symptoms and chronic coughing. 

A study by Tufts University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts also shows that cats living in smoking households have a two to four times increased risk of mouth cancer called oral squamous cell carcinoma.

For more information, check the FDA advisory service.

Secondhand smoking can kill your pet