Second hand smoke exposure
Passive smoking is a health risk. There is no risk-free level of passive (second-hand) smoke exposure for animals or people. Companion animals, including (but not limited to) dogs, cats, birds, mice, guinea pigs and fish, are susceptible to the damaging effects of second-hand smoke.
Exposure of dogs to second-hand smoke has been associated with allergies, eye problems, and airway problems (including cancers) [1–3]. There is also evidence that tobacco smoke exposure accelerates the ageing process in dogs .
Cats exposed to second-hand smoke have a greater risk of developing lymphoma (a serious cancer) and airway illnesses , all of which can be life threatening. Cats are also at risk from swallowing the toxic residues of smoke when they self-groom. This is associated with the development of oral tumours .
Birds are extremely sensitive to the volatile toxins found in cigarette smoke due to their small size and the efficiency at which they absorb things from the air. Birds also swallow toxins from cigarette smoke when they preen themselves. Birds can develop airway illnesses, feather plucking, allergies, cancers, heart disease, and sinus, skin, eye, and fertility problems from exposure to cigarette smoke .
Mice, guinea pigs, and other small animals
Nicotine is very toxic to most fish kept domestically. Nicotine and other toxins from second-hand smoke easily dissolve in water and even small amounts can be very harmful and even deadly to fish .
Animals of all kinds can suffer nicotine poisoning if they eat anything containing nicotine, including cigarettes, cigarette butts, cigars, nicotine patches, or vaping paraphernalia (e.g., liquid refills). Common signs of nicotine poisoning include vomiting, drooling, lethargy, wobbliness, fast heart rate, weakness, shaking, and seizures.
Avoid smoking or vaping around companion animals, and store nicotine products safely to reduce the risk of nicotine poisoning .
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