I know it’s hard to believe, but another year is almost over. That means it’s almost time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. And for many smokers, that means it’s time to start thinking about quitting — again.
Of course, there’s always plenty of incentive to quit. Smoking is a filthy, dangerous habit that affects not only smokers, but everyone around them. It even affects their pets.
According to published reports, dogs and cats inhale secondhand smoke directly, and ingest chemical particles from smoke while grooming. Exposure to the material can worsen existing health conditions and cause new illnesses in our pets.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the ways in which secondhand smoke affects dogs depends largely on the length of the dog’s nose.
Because more toxins tend to get trapped there, dogs with longer noses, such as greyhounds and Dobermans are more likely to get nose cancer, the FDA says. On the other hand, breeds with comparatively smaller noses are at greater risk of getting lung cancer from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Cats that live with smokers are also at risk for serious and potentially fatal illness, but for different reasons. Because they are obsessive about cleanliness, cats can ingest toxic residue from tobacco smoke while grooming.
“Studies show that cats living in smoking households have a two to four-times increased risk of an aggressive type of mouth cancer called oral squamous cell carcinoma. The cancer is often found under the base of the tongue, where the thirdhand smoke particles tend to collect after grooming,” the FDA says. There is currently no known cure.
Citing additional research, the FDA says that cats “that live with people who smoke more than one pack of cigarettes a day have three times the risk of developing lymphoma, a cancer of the body’s immune system similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people.” Most cats with this type of cancer live for just a few months.
So there you have it. If you don’t care about your own health, and you don’t care if smoking affects the people around you — quit for your pet. You’ll both be better off.