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Concern for Pets Might Prompt Smokers to Quit

It's pretty hard to live in 21st century America and not know that smoking is bad for you. Yet millions of Americans still cling to their tobacco-based habits.

But if smokers won't quit for the sake of their own health, perhaps they will out of concern for their pets' well-being. A study in the February issue of Tobacco Control, a British Medical Journal publication, surveyed nearly 3,300 pet owners living in or near Michigan, including about 700 smokers.

Almost a third of smokers said they'd consider quitting if they were told their cigarette smoke might jeopardize their pets' health. (And indeed it may: The authors note that animals' exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is associated with such conditions as lymph gland, nasal passage and lung cancer plus respiratory problems and eye and skin diseases.)

Notice that the pet owners didn't necessarily actually quit: They just said they'd try to if they thought it would help their pets avoid illness. But the authors note that this situation could present opportunities for intervention. Perhaps veterinarians, pet-supply purveyors and others could be enlisted to parlay smokers' passionate devotion to their pets into pledges to quit smoking.

Quitting smoking (like losing weight) is hard work, and feeling strongly motivated -- either for the sake of your own health or that of those you love (even those covered with fur or feathers) -- can only help.

What would it take to motivate you to make a big change to improve your health?

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  February 11, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Smoking  
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Considering that there has been no studies to determine how much, exactly, smoking affects animals overall lifespan, I think anyone who makes a decision based on their pet needs to find a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband so they can worry about something that lasts longer than 10-15 years...

Posted by: indep2 | February 11, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding... middle America?

Posted by: whocares666 | February 11, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's obviously not GOOD for your pets, so quit smoking around them already.

Posted by: sarahabc | February 12, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

It can never be good for your pets to live in an environment like this. So either quit smoking or dont have a pet.

Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan.

Posted by: fredsmilek | February 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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