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The College of Animal Welfare

second hand smoke
second hand smoke

You smoke, they smoke – second hand smoke causes health implications for pets


PDSA warn that smoking around your pets could kill them!

Vet charity PDSA has launched a campaign urging people to stop smoking around their pets because the health implications could be fatal for them.

While we are all aware of the serious and potentially fatal diseases linked to smoking in humans, some of us have not even considered the impact of second-hand smoke on our pets, and PDSA say the impacts are just as severe.

One of the main issues is that “Many pet owners are unaware of the risks that smoking can have on their pets’ health” says PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan. But now that people are being made aware of the health impacts and with today being National No Smoking Day, there is no better time to quit smoking, both for the sake of your own, and your pets’ health.

Oliva added that, “our vets and nurses regularly see the devastating impact smoking can have on pets. Problems range from issues like asthma and chronic coughing through to fatal conditions. Cancers such as lymphoma, for example, are twice as likely in cats exposed to cigarette smoke.”

Smoke affects pets in different ways

PDSA are trying to make people aware that second hand smoke affects each pet in different ways. For example, dogs are prone to smoking-related breathing problems, with links between smoke and difficult-to-treat nasal and sinus cancers in longer nosed dogs. While with cats, smoke will often land on their fur and then as they groom they will lick off the cancer-causing chemicals, playing a large role in the development of mouth cancers.

Research conducted by scientists at the University of Glasgow has found that family pets are equally, if not more, at risk than humans are from the effects of second-hand smoking. PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan commented on this, saying that, “recent studies highlight that this is a really serious issue, and we want pet owners to know that they can make a real difference by simply choosing to smoke outdoors away from their pets”.

Poison risk from electronic cigarettes

While there is currently no evidence that the fumes from electronic cigarettes can cause harm to people or animals, PDSA have mentioned that there is a real risk of poisoning if pets chew or swallow the cartridges, so make sure these are kept out of reach.

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) – a 24 hour telephone emergency service used by vets for animal poisoning cases – says it has seen an increase in cases of electronic cigarette poisoning over the past few years.  According to its latest data, there were 113 reported cases in one year alone, with the true figure likely to be much higher.

For more information about the dangers of passive smoking to pets and advice on how to keep them safe, visit

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