Secondhand Smoke Impact on Pets

July 6, 2021

Today, we all know secondhand smoke hurts nonsmokers. But did you know it’s also harmful for some of our best friends– our pets? With more than 7,000 chemicals1, secondhand smoke can be just as toxic for our furry friends as people. A home with secondhand smoke puts dogs, cats, and especially birds at risk of many health problems. Consider just the following:

  • Dogs exposed to secondhand smoke have more eye infections, allergies, and respiratory issues including lung cancer, as well as greater risk for nasal cancer.2
  • Cats that live with secondhand smoke are at increased risk of developing lung cancer and lymphoma. In fact, cats exposed to smoke are about three times more likely to develop lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes that has a poor prognosis for survival.3
  • Birds have sensitive respiratory systems, making them very likely to develop respiratory problems, such as pneumonia, as well as lung cancer, when exposed to secondhand smoke. They also have a higher risk of skin, heart and eye problems when housed in smoky environments.4

What’s more, pets are also at risk due to thirdhand smoke, which is the residue of toxic chemicals that tobacco smoke leaves on furniture, carpets and even on the walls and floors.5 Pets spend a lot of time on or near the floor, where thirdhand residue concentrates, and can be absorbed through their skin or inhaled as common household dust. If you and your pet are being exposed to secondhand smoke in your building, visit our make your home smokefree article to learn steps you can take.

References renameme

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014.
  2. Reif JS, Bruns C, Lower KS. Cancer of the Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Pet Dogs. Am J Epidemiol. 1998;147(5):488-492.
  3. Bertone ER, Snyder LA, Moore AS. Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats. Am. J. Epidemiol. 2002;156(3):268-273.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Be Smoke-free and Help Your Pets Live Longer, Healthier Lives. Page updated October 19, 2017. Accessed March 26, 2019.
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Secondhand (and Third-Hand) Smoke May Be Making Your Pet Sick. Published November 30, 2016. Accessed March 25, 2019.