The millions of American smokers doubtlessly know of the health risks and social stigma associated with the habit, but often need extra motivation to quit. For a large chunk of this population, pet ownership may provide the impetus to kick the sticks once and for all.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats who live with smokers are about twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a potentially-fatal disease, CatChannel.com reports.
Furthermore, Dr John Reif, professor at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, told the news source that second-hand smoke doubles a dog’s risk of developing lung cancer.
"I’m hoping that by publicizing this information that … the love of their pets will inspire [people] to finally kick the habit," Reif commented.
New research by the AVMA suggests that Reif’s hope may be realized. In an online survey of more than 3,000 pet owners, about 28 percent of those who smoke said they would try to quit if they know their habit endangered their dogs and cats, JAVMA News reports.
A Pet Industry Strategic Outlook report from the research firm Dillon Media found that U.S. pet owners spent about $10.5 billion on veterinary pet care in 2005.