Did You Know That Second-Hand Smoke Kills Pets, Too?

Patty Khuly, DVM
August 11, 2009
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Last reviewed on November 5, 2015

Smoking is every bit as dangerous for pets as it is for you. This we know. It’s possible they’re even more at risk than you and me. This we suspect.

Patients with asthma and chronic bronchitis are the tip of the pulmonary iceberg in households where smoking happens indoors. Lung cancer (and maybe other kinds of the cancerous greeblies) are also possible.

The tip-off for me? A pet that smells like smoke. And it’s not always the whiff of tobacco that gives it away. Marijuana smoking, even just occasionally, can have the same effect. And for some reason I seem to be more sensitive to this aroma than most. [No comments, please. ;-)]

Now there’s a new study out there that adds a new dimension to this finding: People who smoke are more likely to give up the habit (or at least smoke out of doors) if they learn their pets are at risk of illness––perhaps even death––due to their chronic exposure to second-hand smoke.

“Results: Of respondents, 21% were current smokers and 27% of participants lived with at least one smoker. Pet owners who smoke reported that information on the dangers of pet exposure to SHS would motivate them to try to quit smoking (28.4%) and ask the people with whom they live to quit smoking (8.7%) or not to smoke indoors (14.2%). Moreover, non-smoking pet owners who live with smokers said that they would ask the people with whom they live to quit (16.4%) or not smoke indoors (24.2%) if given this information. About 40% of current smokers and 24% of non-smokers living with smokers indicated that they would be interested in receiving information on smoking, quitting, or SHS. owners who smoke or allow smoking in their homes.”

Forget the skyrocketing price per light-up, nothing beats the risk of injury to a beloved pet for its kick-in-the-butt factor.

Here’s another place where keeping pets means better health. Now, if only everyone knew how much harm can befall their pets when they smoke, perhaps we could bring better health to humans through one more pet-centric avenue.

Hot on the heels of a post on tax relief, do I hear yet another cry for pet-keeping’s legitimate (and ever more measurable) societal benefits?