If you light up, consider those around you; your spouse or children might be able to walk away, but your family pet is stuck in a sauna of tar and nicotine, exposed to second- and third-hand smoke.
"Sometimes people don't care enough about themselves. They do care about their pets," Sherry Emery, the director of the University of Illinois, Chicago's Health Media Collaboratory, told NPR. "And cat videos, of course!"
According to a study by researchers at Tuft's University, cats in a smoking household are almost four times more likely to develop cancer than those living in a smoke-free environment. "Results from our case-control study suggest that pet cats exposed to household ETS have a significantly increased risk of malignant lymphoma. Risk was positively associated with both duration and quantity of ETS exposure."
[ETS=Environmental Tobacco Smoke]
"Cats living with smokers are also twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes and that is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it," according to LiveScience.
Another study found that a cat exposed to as little as one cigarette up to 19 cigarettes a day have a doubled risk of developing the most aggressive form of oral cancer in cats, squamous cell carcinoma.
Even if your cat isn't in the house when you actively smoke, objects in your home and food - particularly wet food - absorbs toxins that your pet will later eat. Carcinogens also get trapped in your pet's fur. When a cat grooms himself, he is licking the cancer-causing chemicals and increasing his risk of mouth cancers. Snout length between cats and dogs tends to change the location of the primary cancer, but for cats and dogs, the risk is the same.
"There have been a number of scientific papers recently that have reported the significant health threat secondhand smoke poses to pets," veterinarian Carolynn MacAllister of Oklahoma State University told LiveScience. "Secondhand smoke has been associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds."
So, if you aren't ready to quit yet and are part of the one-fifth of pet owners who smoke, consider doing it for them...
...and the proliferation of adorable cat videos for generations to come.
[Thomas: Whatever it takes! Quit for LIFE!]