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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Surveys


Smokers willing to quit for sake of pets

Many pet parents who use tobacco are more willing to kick the habit because of concern about second-hand smoke harming their dogs.

About one-third said they are likely to quit smoking because they are more worried about the health of their pets than their own well-being, according to a study by Henry Ford Health System of Detroit.

Sharon Milberger, interim director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System, says exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to cancer, allergies, eye and skin diseases and respiratory problems in dogs and cats.

"We hope smokers realize that the health of their pets is affected by their smoking habit, and that secondhand smoke's impact is not limited just to human beings," Milberger states in a media release.

Nearly 3,300 people responded to an online survey available through the Michigan Humane Society, Pet Supplies Plus pet stores and Henry Ford Health System. The break down of pets owned by the respondents are: 66 percent, dogs; 53 percent, cats; 10 percent, birds.

The study, which has been published in the British Medical Journal Tobacco Control, represents the first time researchers looked at the smoking behaviors of people who own or live with a pet. Participants were either smokers or non-smokers who lived with a dog, cat or bird.

The survey posed questions about the animals living in the home, smoking behaviors for themselves and of the people with whom they live, interest in quitting smoking and smoking rules in the home.

The study found:
  • 28.4 percent of smokers said knowing smoking was bad for their pets' health would motivate them to quit.
  • 8.7 percent of smokers said knowing smoking was bad for their pets' health would motivate them to ask their smoking partners to quit.
  • 14 percent of smokers said they would tell their partner to smoke outdoors.
  • 16 percent of nonsmokers said they would ask their partner to quit.
  • 24 percent of nonsmokers said they would tell their partner to smoke outdoors.

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