Pets and E-cigarettes: Everything You Need To Know
Most of us are aware of the implications of second-hand smoke in humans, but what damage could it cause to your pets?
Around two and a half million non-smokers have died from health complications sprouting from exposure to second-hand smoke since 1964, according the data from the CDC. Before stricter bans on smoking in public places came into place, it wouldn’t be uncommon to breathe tobacco smoke in working environments as well as homes in states across the country, even if you weren’t a smoker yourself. Although smoking laws vary from state to state, you would be hard-pressed to find many enclosed areas it would now be acceptable to light up, a move that will help million evade the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke.
Of course, this jurisdiction doesn’t extend to the home, and nor has much been done to protect some of our most vulnerable dependants from second-hand smoke. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Tufts University School of Veterinary Science have discovered that cats who live in homes with smokers are over twice as likely to suffer from feline lymphoma, and other studies have shown adverse effects across the board of popular pet species including dogs, small rodents such as rabbits and guinea pigs, birds and reptiles, with issues including cancers, cell damage and weight gain.
The Truth Initiative launched a campaign this year to educate Americans on the problems their addiction could be causing their furry, feathered and scaled friends, and just how wide-spread it is; nearly 80 million household in the US own a pet, equating to around 65% of households overall. Within this number, an estimated one in five pet owners are also smokers, leaving a frightening number of animals open to an array of devastating illnesses.
The harmful toxins and chemicals that are found the tobacco smoke that is breathed in is still present in second-hand smoke, but fortunately, these chemicals are not found in e-cigarette vapor. As of 2014, there are more than nine million adults vaping regularly in the US, and given the other statistics, it’s likely that a good proportion of these individuals also live with pets. Vaping is an alternative to traditional tobacco products that will protect your pet from the carcinogens in second-hand tobacco smoke, but there are still several precautions you need to take to keep both you and your pet happy and safe in the home.
Keeping Them Safe
Nicotine is present in most e-liquids, and this is a highly toxic substance for animals. Anyone who has owned a puppy at some time will know that their curious and playful nature often leads them to chewing things you would rather they wouldn’t, and a vape device is no different. Sadly, pets can’t read labels, and a chewed tank or e-liquid bottle could result in the accidental ingestion of nicotine. Toxic doses of nicotine are worked on by weight – for example, for a dog of around 17kg such as a border collie, just under 9ml of an 18ml e-liquid could be fatal.
Keeping your e-liquids and out of use devices in places your pet can’t reach is a simple and sure-fire way to keep them safe. Head-height cupboards or lockable boxes work extremely well, as does ensuring animals are not left unsupervised in the room that your liquids are kept. Dispose of any used bottles in an outside bin that your pet can’t get into, as this will protect any local wildlife that may come snooping in your trash as well.
Research has shown that second-hand vaping doesn’t result in detectible amounts of harmful chemical in rooms in which an e-cigarette or device has been used, so there should be little cause for concern for your pet on this front. Taking a common-sense approach that includes not vaping too close to your pet, or blowing vapor at them will minimize any stress caused, as animals may still find the presence of vapor upsetting. Cats especially are sensitive to PG, so if you’re using e-liquids that are high PG/VG then take care to not vape near your cat, or their food and water bowls.
Finally, as with small children, disassembled devices with small parts that can get into inquisitive mouths can be a choking hazard, or cause intestinal damage. If you have taken your device apart to clean it, change batteries or similar, do this when your pet isn’t in the room, and ensure no pieces are left that they might find appealing.
Do you vape around your pet? Tell us in the comments or on social media what you do to make sure they are kept safe while you vape.