By DeAnna Pearl, M.A.T., B.S.

Certified Prevention Specialist

CBS Evening News – Date line April 21, 2015 “Chimp Can’t Kick Cigs”

Sounds unreal right?   An adult chimpanzee is getting sicker and sicker from smoking cigarettes that are thrown in his habitat in a South African zoo. Pets are at the same risk in the homes of smokers, occasional smokers and former smokers homes.

Fluffy and Rover smoking cigarettes? No.   The danger is the accumulation of second hand smoke, ash and dust that holds up to 4000 chemicals. This dust and ash land on furniture and floors.   “Exposure levels in cats continuously kept indoors may actually be higher than those of human household members, who often spend extended periods of time outside their homes,” reported in Science Daily. “Cats become exposed by inhaling the smoke or by digesting it when they groom themselves and lick particulate matter off their fur.” Further, “Cats living in household in which a pack or more of cigarettes was smoked per day had 3X’s the increased risk compared with cats with no household exposure.” A study reported in the Aug. 1 American Journal of Epidemiology.

Dogs living in a smoking household have a 60% risk of getting lung cancer. Nicotine is a highly toxic chemical. Some pets may suffer the effects of nicotine poisoning when exposed to high concentrations. Respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, and collapsing trachea are the most common possible causes of chronic cough in dogs. The constant irritation eventually causes the trachea to lose its round open shape. It begins to collapse resulting in even more coughing and eventually death. Author: Marilyn Pokorney 3/5/05.

Good News!   According to the Siletz Community Health Clinic, there has been a 40% reduction of second hand smoke exposure to children and youth. A survey of all patients using the clinic, since 2003, there has been a dramatic reduction of ETS exposure and climbing. This includes less exposure to indoor pets as well. We should celebrate the efforts of contentious smokers, non-smoking family members who encourage people to smoke outside the home and car.

Bad New! There is still a large number of smokers between the ages of 18 and 64 who are smoking according to the SCHC survey. Adults who smoke are role modeling unhealthy practices for young people to follow. Much like the monkey in South African zoo, mimicking is the number one way of learning.   So if you believe, Monkey See Monkey Do, you can make a difference in a child and pet’s life by quitting today.


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