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Effect of secondhand smoke on pets

Assembled from posts made by John Polito on the Freedom from Nicotine board:

Secondhand smoke the culprit in common cat cancer


Tue Jul 30, 9:34 AM ET    Anita Manning USA TODAY

A link between a common cancer in household cats and the smoking habits of their owners has researchers concerned and urging further study into a possible connection between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans and second-hand tobacco smoke.

In a study being reported Wednesday in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Tufts University in Boston found that a cat’s risk of developing feline lymphoma, the most common cancer in cats, doubled if it shared a home with a smoker, and increased fourfold if it lived with two smokers. The risk for cats living with a person who smokes a pack of cigarettes or more a day tripled, compared with cats living with non-smokers.

Lead author Elizabeth Bertone, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts, says the finding in cats may signal a similar risk to children.

”Often studying these exposures in pets can tell us about their effects in humans,” she says. Malignant lymphoma in cats is ”fairly similar in cell type and distribution” to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, she says. Both diseases can occur at any age, but incidence tends to peak late in life — age 10 for cats and about 70 years of age for humans.

Cats, especially those that live indoors all the time, share breathing space with humans, and, like children mouthing toys, may consume smoke particles while grooming their fur.

Passive smoking hasn’t been studied in humans with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Bertone says, but some studies have found the risk among active smokers is two to three times that of non-smokers, though studies are not consistent.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, like feline lymphoma, is a cancer that starts in lymph tissue and can spread to other organs. The new study suggests that components of tobacco smoke may have a cancerous effect on lymphoid tissue, researchers say.

This is not the first study to link passive smoke and cancer in pets. In 1992 and 1998, John Reif of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences reported that dogs that live with smokers have higher rates of both lung and nasal cancers.

”It’s a big issue for pet owners,” Reif says. It may help animal-loving smokers to quit. ”If they’re not interested in their own health, maybe they’ll do it for their pets.”

Copyright 2002 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.


Study Abstract (Summary)

Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk
of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats


Am J Epidemiol 2002; 156:268-273.
Copyright 2002 by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Authors: Elizabeth R. Bertone1,2, Laura A. Snyder3 and Antony S. Moore3

1 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.
2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA.
3 Harrington Oncology Program, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA.[/size]

Feline malignant lymphoma occurs commonly in domestic cats and may serve as a model for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans. Several studies have suggested that smoking may increase the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. To evaluate whether exposure to household environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) may increase the risk of feline malignant lymphoma, the authors conducted a case-control study of this relation in 80 cats with malignant lymphoma and 114 controls with renal disease diagnosed at a large Massachusetts veterinary teaching hospital between 1993 and 2000. Owners of all subjects were sent a questionnaire inquiring about the level of smoking in the household 2 years prior to diagnosis. After adjustment for age and other factors, the relative risk of malignant lymphoma for cats with any household ETS exposure was 2.4 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.2, 4.5). Risk increased with both duration and quantity of exposure, with evidence of a linear trend. Cats with 5 or more years of ETS exposure had a relative risk of 3.2 (95 percent confidence interval: 1.5, 6.9; p for trend = 0.003) compared with those in nonsmoking households. These findings suggest that passive smoking may increase the risk of malignant lymphoma in cats and that further study of this relation in humans is warranted. Am J Epidemiol 2002;156:268-73.

Key Words: cat diseases; lymphoma; smoke; smoking; tobacco smoke pollution

Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; ETS, environmental tobacco smoke; TUSVM, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

PMID: 12142262



Related Topics

The following three video resource pages, especially the first one illustrate the differences between second hands smoke and you smoking yourself.




Where’s there’s smoke, there’s danger for kitty


Study: Owners’ cigarettes double cancer risk

BOSTON GLOBE – ANIMAL BEAT

by Vicki Croke, Globe Correspondent, 8/24/2002

Cats that live with people who smoke are at least twice as likely to develop lymphoma as are cats in smoke-free homes, a new study has found. When you factor in other variables – the number of smokers in the house, how many packs smoked per day – the risk can rise nearly fourfold.

The study could offer insight into whether there is a link between passive smoking and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in humans, which is similar to lymphoma in cats. Though that link has yet to be studied, Dr. Kim Cronin of the New England Veterinary Oncology Group in Waltham says this is what gives the study such significance.

There’s no doubt that it means something important for cats. Lymphoma, after all, is the most common cat cancer.

Lymphoma is a tougher disease on cats than dogs. When dogs get the disease, they usually have enlarged lymph glands, but with cats other organs are usually involved – stomach or intestines, for instance – and it is more difficult to treat. Only 25 percent of cats treated for lymphoma
survive more than a year.

”Prevention is always easier than treatment,” says Cronin, who also sees many cats with lymphoma in her practice. Sixty percent of cats will respond to chemotherapy, she says, while 90 percent of dogs do.

Veterinary oncologist Antony Moore at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, who co-conducted the study, says he was looking for ways to prevent feline lymphoma when he began conducting the study with Elizabeth Bertone of the University of Massachusetts and Laura Snyder, a recent graduate of the Tufts veterinary school. The three studied case files of cats treated for lymphoma at Tufts between 1993 and 2000, and they surveyed the owners about a variety of factors in the cat’s life, such as which flea-control products were used, what foods the cat ate, whether the cat was a purebred, and whether it went outside. Eighty owners responded.

”[The study] so easily could have been a bust,” says Moore, who cares for lymphoma-stricken cats as part of his practice in North Grafton. But there was a smoking gun: tobacco smoke. While the doctors suspected it may have been a factor, he says they were shocked by how unambiguous the results were.

The study is a wake-up call for owners who smoke, Moore says. ”Even if it changes just a few people,” he says, the study will have been worthwhile.

This story ran on page C1 of the Boston Globe on 8/24/2002.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company



Secondhand smoke harmful to pets


WALB News 10 Albany, Georgia, USA March 8, 2004

Albany – We all have heard that secondhand smoke can be dangerous to your health. Pets can get some of the same diseases as humans, including cancer.

You may feel like you look out for your furry friend’s interest, but do you smoke? Albany Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dick Hydrick says he sees a lot of pets with upper respiratory problems. He says, “Often related to those who smoke.”

Smoking around your pet can be dangerous to your four-legged friend’s health.

Pets not only inhale the bad fumes, the smoke seeps into their fur and when cleaning themselves, the pets can take in nicotine with every lick. Hydrick adds, “We see a good bit of cancer in dogs and cats, but I can’t specifically relate it to smoking because that’s a long term thing, it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Animal Hospital worker Nancy Summerlin quit smoking last year because of health problems, but some workers were motivated to quit because of their sick patients. She says, “Miranda quit because we had a cat that came in and smelled just like a cigarette. We had it on oxygen for two to three days trying to bring it back out and eventually it died.”

Unlike children, your pets will never be able to tell you the smoke bothers them.

If you’re a pet owner who smokes, Veterinarians suggest you smoke outside.

If you smoke inside your home, the smoke will be trapped in clothes, furniture and carpet, meaning your pet will take in more nicotine.

Copyright 2000 - 2004 WorldNow and WALB. All Rights Reserved.



The Dark Side of Lighting Up
Secondhand smoke claims canine lives


By Beth Finke, Dog Fancy Magazine – June 2004

One more reason to toss out that last pack and quit smoking: your dog’s health. Research shows that second-hand cigarette smoke – already shown to harm humans – may hurt dogs too.

Two studies led by John M. Reif, DVM, professor of environmental  health at Colorado State University, shows that dogs living with smokers are more likely to develop cancer than those that live in smoke-free environments.

A 1992 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that dogs in smoking households had a 60% greater risk of developing lung cancer than those who live in smoke-free homes.

Another of Reif’s studies, published in the same journal in 1998, shows that long nosed-dogs – such as Collies and Irish Wolfhounds – were twice as likely to get nasal cancer if they lived with smokers. Reif speculates that carcinogens in cigarette smoke get trapped in the canine nasal passages, increasing the risk of nasal cancer. The risk increases for dogs with short or medium-sized noses such as Pugs or Poodles.

The message is clear, according to Reif. “People should stop smoking for their own health, and for their family’s health,” he says. “And for their dog.”

2004 Copyright Dog Fancy Magazine – All Rights Reserved

Thanks to Tom for bringing this article to our attention.



Smoke gets in pet’s eyes and lungs


 By Daniel Crain – CONTRIBUTOR

If you’re a smoker and pet owner, you might want  to think twice before you light up that cigarette.

The harm tobacco can exact on the human body has been common knowledge for many years. Then the dangers of second-hand smoke for humans raised alarm bells. Now, people have begun to realize that our pets are also at risk.

Second-hand smoke contains about 4,000 chemical compounds,  200 of which are poisonous, and 43 known carcinogens. Recent university studies suggest that pets living in households with smokers are at increased risk of falling victim to lung and other cancers, heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as asthma. And the more smokers in a household, the greater the health risk to a pet.

Studies carried out at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the 1990s were the first to spotlight the hazards secondhand smoke posed to dogs. The studies found that exposure to smoke particles in the air increased the risk of cancer of the respiratory system. Dogs with long noses had a greater risk of nasal and sinus cancer, while short-nosed dogs had an elevated risk of lung cancer.

It is thought that dogs with long noses filter out carcinogens through the nose, thus exposing more nasal tissue to carcinogens when they inhale. In short-nosed dogs, the carcinogens go straight to the lungs.

A 2002 study by Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine found that, adjusting for age and other factors, cats living in households where their owners smoked were twice as likely to develop a cancer called feline lymphoma than cats living in non-smoking households. Other studies suggest that higher rates of feline asthma are also the result of the irritants in tobacco smoke.

It’s not only breathing in tobacco smoke that can cause harm to pets. Carcinogens in the smoke settle on animals’ fur, and when cats and dogs groom themselves they ingest this harmful residue. Cats exposed to secondhand smoke also have a heightened risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of oral cancer often found in smokers.

Some pets, usually dogs, like to chow down on discarded cigarette butts. These are extremely toxic and can be fatal if ingested. Pet owners should keep any nicotine-containing products — cigarettes, cigars, chewing-tobacco, nicotine patches — away from their pets, and dispose of butts safely.

Smokers can protect their pets from exposure to second-hand smoke by only smoking outside. And they should monitor their pets carefully for any warning signs of cancer:

Lung cancer: chronic coughing, weight loss, abnormal fatigue.

Nasal cancer: swelling over the nose or sinus area, sneezing and bloody nasal discharge.

Feline lymphoma: enlarged lymph nodes.

Oral cancer: a mass in the mouth, not eating, drooling.

The best way to protect your pet from the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke is to quit smoking completely. That way, both you and your pet will have longer and healthier lives.

Daniel Crain, president of the San Francisco SPCA, has been committed to animals all his life and is the current owner/guardian/foster parent of five formerly homeless dogs and one verbose parrot.

2004 by MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers



Pets and secondhand smoke


by Linda Lechler - March 18, 2003

 She sits by the window of her third story apartment hovered in a small corner of the room smoking a cigarette and thinking about Jack Daniels.

No, Sarah Billings is not a closet smoker or alcoholic but a pet owner who cares deeply for Jack, her 5-year-old hound-dog mix. She has known Jack for his whole life and is concerned about how her secondhand smoke may affect him.

“Dogs age almost seven times faster than us,” Billings said, a junior majoring in psychology. “Secondhand smoke can cause problems fast. I take Jack (to the vet) frequently and he appears to be fine,” Billings said. “But they don’t do any specific tests to see early signs (of secondhand smoke).”

Billings said she has smoked cigarettes around Jack for half of a year and worries about his sporadic wheezing, coughing and hyperventilating around cigarette smoke.

“I am close with my dog,” Billings said. “I would never forgive myself if I caused his early demise.”

Billings, along with other pet owners, is slowly becoming aware of the effects of secondhand smoke on pets. Two studies were done at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital headed by John Reif, professor of epidemiology, and the department chairman for environmental and radiological health sciences, and associates that helped to bring awareness of secondhand smoke to the public.

In 1992, Reif conducted a study entitled, “Passive Smoking and Canine Lung Cancer Risk.” Reif also headed the second study of similar interests, in 1998, titled “Cancer of the Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses and Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Pet Dogs.”

“These studies are really the first to make us aware of secondhand smoke on animals,” Reif said. “They are the first of their kind.”

There were several factors taken into consideration during the studies, such as number of smokers in the home, number of packs of cigarettes smoked in the home per day by the heaviest smoker, the time the dog spent inside the home, and the age, sex, body size and skull shape of the dog.

“All these factors involved are important,” Reif said. “All exposures are contributing factors.”

According to the study, a dog that has exposure to a smoker in the home is 1.6 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a dog that is not exposed to a smoker.

The study found that skull shape had an effect on the estimated risk of lung cancer in dogs. Dogs with long noses (like German shepherds) have a higher risk for nasal cancer and dogs with short noses (like pugs) have a higher risk for lung cancer, Reif said. This is because, in theory, a dog with a long nose has an extra filtering system in its nose, so it is more likely to develop nasal cancers, Reif said.

“Both studies are important because they show exposure to secondhand smoke has an increased risk for cancer of respiratory system in dogs,” Reif said.

He said some of the warning signs of lung cancer in dogs include chronic coughing, weight loss and abnormal fatigue. Warning signs of nasal cancer include swelling over the nose or sinus area, sneezing and bloody nasal discharge, Reif said.

The only real prevention for these cancers is to not smoke around your pets, Reif said.

“Obviously people are encouraged not to smoke,” he said. “People who choose to smoke should do so away from pets, outdoors.”

Although the public is slowly becoming aware of the effects of secondhand smoke through studies like these, the concept is still unknown to many. Out of 20 random practicing veterinarians called in the Fort Collins and Loveland yellow pages, not one of them knew a lot about any studies done about the effects of secondhand smoke and pets. Also, none of these veterinarians are currently talking to their clients about secondhand smoke’s potential negative effects.

This lack of awareness may not be so prevalent at the CSU campus this coming spring, however. The new approach to the subject of secondhand smoke affecting pets was an inspiration for a new campaign in the tobacco cessation program headed by Jerusha Hall with the assistance of Andrea Boone at the CSU Hartshorn Health Center.

“The whole campaign started because as a smoker I was looking for a different approach to tobacco education,” Hall said, a senior animal science major.

She said the approach to tobacco cessation has been seen in the same light for too long and finding a new twist might help to reach more people. Hall said she takes better care of her dogs then she does herself in some ways and knows she is not alone in this behavior.

“To me it was an approach that I hadn’t seen before and maybe it is something that would connect for some other smokers,” Hall said. ” The process of cessation is so difficult and maybe just looking at things differently may help.”

The major goal of the pets and health campaign, which starts later this spring, is for people on campus to gain some awareness on the tobacco issue, Hall said.

This project will include a poster campaign with resource numbers, Web sites and a tentatively scheduled dog day on campus which will include health checks for dogs, Frisbee and bandana giveaways, getting your dog’s photo taken with Mr. Butts (a speaker on secondhand smoke and your pet) and a raffle for t-shirts.

This event is tentatively planned for April 23, with the posters coming out a week or two before the event.

Copyright 2005 Colorado State Collegian



Secondhand Smoke, Nicotine Poisoning Health Threats to Pets Living with a Smoker Puts Companion and Household Pets Lives at Risk

 
By Sussy - September 2, 2007

On Friday, Oklahoma State University detailed in a press release the serious health risks posed to pets and other household animals exposed to secondhand smoke. It’s well understood that secondhand smoke is attributed to the health problems and deaths of thousands of Americans every year, but much less attention has been paid to the impact secondhand smoke is having on the lives of the nation’s pets.

Dr. Carolynn MacAllister is an Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service veterinarian. She says it makes sense that secondhand smoke would be harmful to dogs, cats and birds living with smokers.

She said: “There have been a number of scientific papers recently that have reported the significant health threat secondhand smoke poses to pets. 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.”In 1992, Dr. John Reif, a professor of epidemiology at Colorado State University (CSU) and the department chairman for environmental and radiological health sciences conducted a study entitled “Passive Smoking and Canine Lung Cancer Risk.” In 1998, he lead a second similar study. According to Smoke Free Society, Dr. Reif said: “These studies are really the first to make us aware of secondhand smoke on animals. They are the first of their kind.”During the 1998 study, the researchers took into consideration the number of smokers in the home, how many cigarettes were smoked in the home each day, how much time the dog spent in the home, and the age, sex, size and skull shape of the dog. The study found that a dog exposed to secondhand smoke in the home is 1.6 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a dog that isn’t exposed.

Dr. MacAllister expanded on that figure and said that secondhand smoke is associated with an increased occurrence of cancer in the nose and sinus area among dogs, as well as a “slight” association with lung cancer. She said that a “recent study conducted at Colorado State University shows that there is a higher incidence of nasal tumors in dogs living in a home with secondhand smoke compared to dogs living in a smoke free environment. The increased incidence was specifically found among the long nosed breed of dogs. Shorter or medium nosed dogs showed higher rates for lung cancer.”

Dr. MacAllister said longer-nosed breeds have a greater surface area in their noses that’s exposed to the carcinogens in cigarette smoke. She said that the carcinogens tend to build up on the mucous membranes of long nosed dogs, so not as much reaches the lungs. Dogs who develop nasal cancer typically died within a year.

Shorter nosed dogs tend to have more incidents of lung cancer than nasal cancer. MacAllister said this is because “their shorter nasal passages aren’t as effective at accumulating the inhaled secondhand smoke carcinogens. This results in more carcinogens reaching the lungs.”

Dr. MacAllister said that cats are also victims of secondhand smoke. She said a recent study, conducted at Tuft College of Veterinary Medicine, found a significant correlation between secondhand smoke and squamous cell carcinoma, or oral cancer, in cats. Further, cats that lived with smokers for five or more years had even higher rates of oral cancer.

Dr. MacAllister surmised: “One reason cats are so susceptible to secondhand smoke is because of their grooming habits. Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming, therefore they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur. This grooming behavior exposes the mucous membrane of their mouth to the cancer-causing carcinogens.”

Cats who live in smoking households are also twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, another type of cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes. Most cats – 75 percent – died within a year of developing the cancer.

Pet birds, with their hypersensitive respiratory systems, also fall victim to secondhand smoke. Dr. MacAllister said the most serious consequences of birds inhaling secondhand smoke are pneumonia or lung cancer. However, research has also found other health risks, including eye, skin, heart and fertility problems.

In addition to the risks of secondhand smoke, household pets living with smokers are also at risk of nicotine poisoning. Dr. MacAllister explained: “Curious pets can eat cigarettes and other tobacco products if the products aren’t stored properly. When ingested, this can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be fatal.”

Short of quitting smoking, the next best thing is for smokers to have a designated area in which to smoke that is physically separated from the area where pets are kept. It’s also important to keep cigarettes, cigarette butts and other tobacco products put away.

Copyright 2007 Associated Content, Inc.



Pet owners say furry friends are major incentive to quit smoking


by Matt Vande Bunte, The Grand Rapids

Mary Ellen Ratuszny has her dog, Chief, to thank for helping her to quit smoking. “I think we’ve done a lot for each other,” Ratuszny said. “People say, you may have saved each other.” Ratuszny was a smoker when she adopted the Shepard Chow mix four years ago from the Kent County Humane Society, but she quickly learned the dog couldn’t handle being around second-hand smoke. Ratuszny quit within a week. “He really has been a blessing,” she said. WALKER — Her doctor told her to quit. So did her dad. Yet, for more than 30 years, Mary Ellen Ratuszny kept smoking.

Then, she fell in love with Chief, a striking shepherd chow cross with an outgoing bark.

Only one problem: secondhand smoke would complicate the dog’s heartworm treatment. So when Ratuszny last weekend celebrated the fourth anniversary of adopting Chief, it also marked four years since her last cigarette.

“The doctor, my father over the years, other people ragging on you to quit smoking, and here I do it for the dog,” said Ratuszny, 56. “The consequences were right there in front of me.

“I did not want to do anything that was going to jeopardize the health and recovery of this dog. It was a very immediate, very concrete motivator.”

For many of the same reasons secondhand smoke is deemed harmful to humans, some studies suggest pets also are at risk of tobacco-related respiratory problems, allergies and even cancer. So as a statewide ban on workplace smoking takes hold today, one that may push smokers to light up more often in the privacy of their own home, a growing body of research begs the question: Should the ban be extended to pet owners’ homes? Perhaps the thought alone is enough to give Fido’s master pause.

“Minimizing or eliminating exposure to environmental tobacco smoke would be ideal for our canine and feline populations,” said Stephan Carey, assistant professor of internal medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“(The risk) sort of parallels what we see in people. There are a couple things that are proven and there are more things with either strong or weak correlations.”

For example, Carey said secondhand smoke increases risk of malignant nasal tumors in dogs, especially long-nosed breeds like Dobermans and Daschunds. Smoking also is linked to feline lymphoma, he said.

In fact, secondhand smoke may pose more of a threat to pets, particularly those confined indoors, than to people, who get outside and spend time in places where there is no smoking. Pets with asthma, chronic bronchitis or other airway diseases are at greatest risk, Carey said.

“Pets tend to have smaller airways, so they tend to get affected faster,” said Laura Sullivan, a veterinarian at Cascade Hospital for Animals. “When you think of cats, they groom themselves by licking. They’re actually ingesting that (tobacco residue) when they’re cleaning their fur. Their exposure is higher.

“There’s definite evidence of increased risk, the same as you’re going to see with your children.”

Sullivan said she sees on a regular basis the effects of secondhand smoke on pets, and she has talked with some clients about the need to avoid smoking around their pets. Still, “it’s probably not something that’s broached very quickly because we don’t often ask owners what their personal habits are,” she said.

Nor is that a question asked by pet health insurers, said Loran Hickton, executive director of the Pittsburgh-based North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Though “there’s certainly a (health) effect on pets,” insurance premiums for pets who live in homes where people smoke are the same as those for pets in smoke-free homes, he said.

About 1 million pets, less than 1 percent of the national market, have health insurance, Hickton said. A 2009 study by the Detroit-area Henry Ford Health System’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention found that 75 percent of pet owners keep smoke-free homes.

“People are treating their pets like their family members and I don’t think (secondhand smoke) is that much of an issue,” Hickton said. “It’s a small percentage of people that subject their pets to smoke.

“Much like their children, people are stepping outside their home to smoke. People really care for their pets.”

On the one hand, Ratuszny knew smoking was bad for her own health, but the retired state psychologist was in denial. So it took a surprising revelation from Chief’s veterinarian to convince her to kick the habit, if not for her sake then as a secondhand benefit to him.

“To not adopt the dog at that point wasn’t even a thought. So I just said ‘Well, this is the universe playing a joke,'” said Ratuszny, who was a volunteer dog-walker for the Humane Society of Kent County when she met Chief, who’s now eight years old.

“I suppose I could (start smoking again now that Chief’s heartworm is gone), but why? I like being able to breathe correctly. I just feel better. I’ve got more energy.

“The dog and I helped each other. He really has been a blessing to me.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Is your pet more persuasive than your doctor? How pet owners respond to research that secondhand smoke harms pets:


By the Numbers source: Henry Ford Health System 2009 study

Copyright 2010 MLive.com - All rights reserved.


Some Concern About This Story

Who will likely live longer, Mary Ellen or Chief?  If Mary Ellen’s primary reason for quitting was Chief, what happens when Chief passes away?   While almost all of us enjoyed some degree of motivation from the  positive consequences our recovery brought to those we love,  allowing such motivations to reign supreme or become our core reason carries with it elevated risk of relapse.

Below is Joel’s “Quitting for Others” article and while the pet’s love can be vastly more unconditional and dependable than that of human humans, their time with is far too short.   If you’re putting pets or others above this most amazing gift you’ve given you,  we encourage you to reflect on the value of transferring your core motivations into the host of positive factors that unfold during your journey here to Easy Street.    Allow recovery to be our loving gift to us!   Still only one rule … no nicotine today!   John




Joel’s Reinforcement Library

Quitting for Others

“My husband can’t stand it when I smoke – that is why I quit.”  “My wife is trying to quit, so I will stop just to support her.”  “My kids get sick when I smoke in front of them.  They cough, sneeze, and nag me to death.  I quit for them.”  “My doctor told me not to smoke as long as I am his patient, so I quit to get him off my back.”  “I quit for my dog.”

All these people may have given up smoking, but they have done it for the wrong reason.  While they may have gotten through the initial withdrawal process, if they don’t change their primary motivation for abstaining from smoking, they will inevitably relapse.  Contrary to popular belief, the important measure of success in smoking cessation is not getting off of cigarettes, but rather the ability to stay off.

A smoker may quit temporarily for the sake of a significant other, but he will feel as if he is depriving himself of something he truly wants.  This feeling of deprivation will ultimately cause him to return to smoking.  All that has to happen is for the person who he quit for to do something wrong, or just disappoint him.  His response will be, “I deprived myself of my cigarettes for you and look how you pay me back!  I’ll show you, I will take a cigarette!”  He will show them nothing.  He is the one who will return to smoking and suffer the consequences. He will either smoke until it kills him or have to quit again.  Neither alternative will be pleasant.

It is imperative for him to come to the realization that the primary benefactor in his giving up smoking is himself.  True, his family and friends will benefit, but he will feel happier, healthier, calmer and in control of his life.  This results in pride and a greatly improved self-esteem.  Instead of feeling deprived of cigarettes, he will feel good about himself and appreciative to have been able to break free from such a dirty, deadly, powerful addiction.

So, always keep in mind that you quit smoking for you.  Even if no one else offers praise or encouragement, pat yourself on the back for taking such good care of yourself.  Realize how good you are to yourself for having broken free from such a destructive addiction.  Be proud and remember – NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Joel


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© Joel Spitzer 2018
Reformatted 07/29/18 by John R. Polito