dog with bowl guinea pig  cat on sofa  birds in cage 

Your Pets and Tobacco Smoke


Secondhand and thirdhand smoke is just as dangerous to animals as it is to humans. There is no safe level of exposure.

Research has shown that exposure to tobacco smoke has been associated with certain cancers in dogs and cats; allergies in dogs; and eye and skin disease and respiratory problems in birds.1

Animals lick and groom themselves often, causing the particles in thirdhand smoke to be ingested.  Secondhand and thirdhand smoke is absorbed in the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose of pets causing illness and disease.2


Pets are in danger by:


  • Breathing secondhand smoke
  • Drinking water that thirdhand smoke has settled into
  • Drinking water that contains cigar or cigarette butts3
  • Licking thirdhand smoke off their fur or skin and off floors and/or surfaces
  • Eating cigarette or cigar butts
  • Eating nicotine products such as patches or gum
    dog and cat on sofa 

Nicotine is a poison.  There are many other toxic chemicals in tobacco. Eating 1-5 cigarettes or 1/3 to 1 cigar can kill your pet.


Health Effects in Pets 2

 vet with dog
  • Breathing problems
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac abnormalities
  • Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Death


Specific Health Effects


Dogs –    Nasal tumors

      Nasal cancer

               Lung cancer


Cats-   Oral cancer



   Respiratory problems

   Lung inflammation4


Birds    Lung cancer

      Respiratory illnesses


      Eye and skin diseases

      Heart disease




Rabbits-   atherosclerosis (hardening arteries)5                                                                         


Guinea Pig, Hamster, Mice (rodents)-     Wheezing


                                                               Fatty liver disease[7]

                                                               Heart disease


Protect Your Pets


  • Don’t allow smoking or use of tobacco products in your home.
  • If someone is smoking ask that they smoke outside at least 50 feet from any door, window or vent.
  • When not at home, do not allow anyone to smoke around your pet.
 cat yawning

  • Look for pet sitters, pet daycares and kennels with smoke free policies inside and outside of the building.
pug dog 
  • If you smoke, try to quit, Call the CT Quitline for help.
  • Keep tobacco and nicotine products away and out of the reach of curious pets.
  • Clean ashtrays after every use.  Don’t leave butts where pets can find them.

1 Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights,

2 Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights,

3 Tobacco Free Utah


4 Tobacco Free Utah

5 ANR smokefree pet factsheet,

6 Breathe New Hampshire factsheet,

7  The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, r

8 Legacy, Pets and secondhand smoke fact sheet,