Smokers urged to quit to protect pets

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stop smoking, it could kill your pets - that is the latest message to try to persuade Doncaster folk to stub out their habit.

The Doncaster Stop Smoking Service has targeted veterinary surgeries, pet shops and grooming parlours with new posters to highlight the risks of second-hand smoke to animals.

It is the first time that the service, run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, has aimed a campaign at smokers who are pet owners, and staff are hoping that it will help steer people towards a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their pets.

The dangers of direct smoking and the harmful effects of second-hand smoke exposure to humans are widely known.

But there is also evidence that dogs, cats, and other pets are adversely affected.

Maryanne Wylde, stop smoking specialist, said: “We hope these posters will make smokers stop and think about the damage they might be doing to their beloved pets.

“Most people are aware of the damage second-hand smoke can cause to humans but perhaps don’t realise it’s also harmful for pets such as cats, dogs and particularly birds.”

Kate Lighton, a veterinary nurse from Vets4Pets in Wentworth Road, Wheatley, said: “No pet should be around second-hand smoke. Budgies are very susceptible to the effects as they are unable to get away from the smoke, and cats and dogs can develop problems with their eyes.

“All staff at Vets4Pets talk to our customers about the dangers of smoking around pets.”

Pets are affected by the ingestion of cigarette or cigar butts which contain toxins, by drinking water that contains cigar or cigarette butts which can have high concentrations of nicotine, by breathing second-hand smoke, and by ingestion of nicotine replacement gum and patches.

Detrimental effects on pet health include breathing problems in dogs and asthmatic-like symptoms in cats, plus salivation, diarrhoea, vomiting, cardiac abnormalities, respiratory difficulties and respiratory paralysis, feline lymphoma in cats, lung cancer in dogs, nasal cancer in dogs, and death because cigarettes and cigars can be fatal if ingested.

Pet owners are urged not to smoke - but if they do to take it outside.

“The health effects of smoking around pets is just one more good reason to quit,” said Maryanne.