Hello new week! This Monday is a good time to start thinking about how smoking can affect your loved ones, children, and pets. Secondhand smoke, the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers, contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of these chemicals are toxic and an estimated 70 of them are cancer associated.
There is also third-hand smoke, the harmful compounds that can be left on a smoker’s skin, clothing, furniture, carpet, and other items. Dogs, cats, family members, employees and roommates can be exposed to health risks from third-party smoke.
Giving up the habit can have great benefits to your own health, and it can also benefit those around you. Here’s how the people (and animals) you love can be influenced by your smoking habit:
- Children and babies are at higher risk of health problems caused by secondhand smoke. These conditions include asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Adults are also affected by secondhand smoke: inhaling the chemicals from a smoker’s cigarette can lead to coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
- People who love smokers or who spend time with them increase their risk of certain health conditions. Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25–30%.
- Dogs with larger noses exposed to tobacco smoke are at double the risk of nasal cancer. People with smaller noses are at greater risk of developing lung cancer because fewer particles are filtered in the nose and go more directly to the lungs.
- Cats who live in smoking households are two to four times more likely to develop a certain type of oral cancer. Less than 10% of cats survive the disease within a year of diagnosis.
Thinking about how smoking can put your loved ones at risk can be a very helpful motivation to quit and quit smoking. Use this exercise this Monday and the rest of the week to better achieve your goals.