Hello new week! This Monday is a good time to think about how your smoking can impact your loved ones, children and pets. Secondhand smoke, the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers, contains more that 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of these chemicals are toxic, and an estimated 70 of them are associated with cancer.
There’s also third-hand smoke, the harmful compounds left behind that can linger on skin, clothes, furniture, carpet and other items belonging to a smoker. Dogs, cats, family members, coworkers and roommates can all be subjected to health risks by way of third-hand smoke.
Kicking the habit can have great benefits on your own health, and it can also benefit those around you. Here’s how the people (and animals) you love can be affected by your smoking habit:
- Children and babies are at a higher risk for health problems caused by secondhand smoke. These conditions include asthma attacks, respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Adults are also impacted by secondhand smoke: Breathing in the chemicals from a smoker’s cigarette can lead to coronary heart disease, lung cancer and stroke.
- People who love or spend time with smokers increase their risk for certain health conditions. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work raise their risk of developing heart disease by 25–30%.
- Dogs with bigger noses exposed to tobacco smoke have a doubled risk of nose cancer. Those with smaller noses have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, since fewer particles get filtered in the nose and move more directly to the lungs.
- Cats living in smoking households have a two-to-four-times increased risk for a specific type of mouth cancer. Within a year of diagnoses, fewer than 10% of cats survive the disease.
Thinking about how smoking can endanger your loved ones can be really helpful motivation to quit and stay quit. Use this practice this Monday and throughout the rest of the week to better achieve your quit goals.