You know smoking is harmful to you, and you know second hand smoke can be harmful for those around you. But do you know the dangers of third-hand smoke?
When Lisa Frank lights up, she goes outside. She used to smoke inside, but then thought smoking in an enclosed area just couldn't be good for her dogs. "I didn't want them to breathe that."
Now the FDA wants to make sure your pet doesn't breathe that either. They've released a new warning about second and third-hand smoke.
Dr. Martine Hartogensis a Veterinarian with the FDA says second and third-hand smoke can kill your pet. Third-hand smoke happens when those chemicals accumulate over time in things in your home: floors, rugs and furniture. "It can affect particularly animals that spend most of their time on the low levels on the floor, in and around the carpets and their bedding."
That chemical residue rubs off on pets' fur and they ingest it when they groom or lick their coats. Studies show smoke has been linked to deadly cancers in pets. Cats living in homes with smokers are two times more likely to develop oral tumors, and dogs with longer muzzles are more likely to develop nasal tumors.
"Nasal tumors are more prominent in long nosed dogs such as Dobermans, Collies, German Shepherds because they have an increased surface area in their nose and more exposure." Dr. Martine Hartogensis explains. "Conversely shorter nosed dogs like pugs and bull dogs are more associated with lung cancer because they have less filtration."
But it's not just dogs and cats, any animal exposed to smoke is at risk, from hamsters, to birds, even fish. The FDA hopes knowing the pet dangers will kick start more people to kick the habit.
The FDA warning is specifically about pets, but it's important to note the American Academy of Pediatrics has previously warned about the risk of third hand smoke for children, especially babies and toddlers who are more likely to crawl on rugs and have their faces in furniture.