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Risk to Pets Another Reason to Quit Smoking, Say Advocates

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Veterinarians, anti-smoking groups, and animal advocacy organizations are teaming up to get people to stop smoking for the sake of their pets, USA Today reported May 10. 

Studies have shown an increased risk of lung and nasal cancer in dogs and malignant lymphoma in cats from secondhand smoke, and pets with pre-existing respiratory conditions also can have their conditions exacerbated by cigarette-smoking owners. 

Organizations such as Utah Tobacco Prevention and Control, Breathe New Hampshire, and smokefreesociety.org have posted information targeted at pet owners to their website and, in some cases, canvassed local animal events. Last month, the ASPCA teamed with the American Legacy Foundation to urge smokers to consider their animals' health when contemplating quitting.

A web-based survey of 3,923 adult pet owners showed that 48 percent were smokers or lived with smokers, and 37 percent said that clear evidence of harm to their pet would motivate them to quit or encourage the people they live with to quit. Fourteen percent said they would move their smoking outdoors. 

“We know people sometimes pay more attention to their pets' well-being,” said Steven Hansen, who works for the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. “If a person needs one more reason to stop smoking, maybe this is it.” 

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