You may have read about it: an American study which recommends that smoking should be banned in the home because it concluded that smokers’ children are a third more likely to die from lung disease when they grow up. It is the first study to find this link. America banned smoking in social housing last month. The UK has no plans to ban cigarette smoking in the home although the Scottish Parliament is considering it.
If that is the case surely cats and dogs are at risk too and I’d like to see a reference to that possibility in online articles because so often pets are forgotten when researchers come to conclusions about children. It could be argued that cats are more at risk than kids because they lie around on furniture which harbours tobacco smoke residue and they groom themselves. Although as a cat’s lifespan is a fraction that of a human they may not have time to develop lung disease but passive smoking is highly likely to have a negative impact of their health to varying degrees.
For 22 years, the researchers tracked 100,000 women between the ages of 50 and 72 and asked them about their exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke during childhood and as adults.
Adults exposed to passive smoking as children were far more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. They both affect breathing.
Death from COPD was 31% higher in children exposed to their parents’ cigarette smoke. Passive smoking as an adult is even more dangerous for the victim. Adults exposed to 10 or more hours of cigarette smoke weekly were 42% more likely to die from COPD which is the second most common lung disease after asthma.
Cat passive smoking is another household hazard. I would doubt if many smokers are concerned about the effect their smoking has on their cat companion. Perhaps this research will help them wake up to the possible serious long term and sometimes fatal health consequences. Feline anatomy is very similar to that of the human.
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