We protect our children from second hand smoke as second nature. The harm that it causes is well known.
I often ask myself, why do we often not extend the same basic rights to our pets?
They are just as susceptible to second hand smoke as humans. They are as innocent as a child and they are being exposed to toxic chemicals through no fault of their own.
Studies have shown that cats that live in smokers households have much higher rates of lymphoma than cats that are not exposed to second hand smoke. In fact studies show is up to 100% more likely!
The longer the cat is exposed the smoke the more the risk increases. If the cat is exposed for 5 years or more they are 300% more likely to get lymphoma.
Pretty shocking stuff I am sure you will agree.
Then there is the issue of third hand smoke too. Third hand smoke is a dangerous toxic residue that is left behind everywhere cigarette smoke touches. Even if you open a window it is filling your home every time you light that cigarette.
It will get on your pet’s toys, it will get on their food, and it will get on their fur. It will get everywhere.
As many animals spend all day grooming themselves with their tongue – you can see how this could be an issue. Every lick will have them ingesting the third hand smoke into their system. Deadly cancer causing chemicals they unknowingly ingest through no fault of their own.
Please protect your pets just like you would protect your children. They are part of the family and deserve to live their lives free from the dangers of tobacco. Unfortunately many people are unaware of this issue, although awareness campaigns do exist. Please spread the word to smokers you may know that have pets.
There are many things you can do to reduce pet’s exposure to smoke.
The best thing you can do obviously is quit smoking. This is the only way to totally reduce exposure. However quitting smoking is a personal decision that people will make for themselves, and I am not here to convince you to try and quit smoking or tell you how bad it is for you.
Until you quit smoking, the second best thing you can do is to smoke outside, and never smoke around your pet. This will reduce their exposure to second hand smoke drastically. However third hand smoke will still be present, as you will carry it on your clothes and your skin. But it will be a large improvement over smoking indoors.
If you do have to smoke inside your home, then you should try and create a room that is off-limits to your pet entirely. Open the window when smoking and keep the door closed.
Quite honestly this will not reduce the effects of your smoke enough to make it safe for your pet. But it will be a slight improvement over doing nothing.
Whatever you do, do it for your pet. They are part of the family and deserve to live a healthy long happy life free from the dangers of cigarette smoke.
Chole Bloom a volunteer at Quitza “a non profit where users from all over the world support each other while quitting smoking using Quitzas custom made social support network.”