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Smoking Is Also Bad for Your Pet’s Health

If you’ve been smoking for a while now, you’ve probably heard about secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke has been the cause of death to an estimated 2.5 million nonsmokers in the U.S.

Smoking accounts for 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that this nasty habit causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and increases the risk for stroke and heart disease.

If you’ve been looking for another reason to quit smoking, your pets’ welfare, in addition to your loved ones’ health, might be another incentive for you. According to a new study, your pets’ health may be adversely affected when they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Clare Knottenbelt, who teaches small animal medicine and oncology at the University of Glasgow, said dogs who share homes with smokers ingest high levels of tobacco smoke. However, cats get it the worse, as they are at the highest risk from secondhand smoke.

Examining nicotine levels in their fur and assessing for health problems, Prof. Knottenbelt and her colleagues checked the dogs’ testicles to check for signs of cell damage. Comparing these dogs with those living in nonsmoking homes, the dogs exposed to secondhand smoke were at a higher risk for cancer, weight gain, and cell damage. As for cats, the researchers found out that they ingest more smoke than dogs.

For these pets’ health, stopping smoking is the best recourse, Prof. Knottenbelt and her team suggest. However, they noted that when homeowners smoked outside the home, the health risks are reduced since the amount of secondhand smoke ingested is lower.

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