PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause many of the same harmful effects to animals as it does to people. Secondhand smoke can produce a wide range of illnesses from respiratory problems to cancer.

Research indicates that secondhand smoke is extremely unsafe in many ways for both humans and animals. Exposure can cause inflammatory changes in the airways and lungs of dogs, just as it can with humans, according to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Breathing problems for dogs and asthmatic-like symptoms for cats develop as well as cardiac abnormalities and respiratory paralysis. Exposure also means a greater risk of developing tumors. Dogs can develop life-threatening nasal and lung cancers. Cats can develop malignant lymphoma. The damage is originally caused by the smoke residue left on their fur and ultimately, the ingestion of it as they groom.

Keep your pets completely away from ashtrays and trashcans. Nicotine is highly toxic to animals so ingesting cigarettes can cause anything from a decreased rate of breathing, to muscle twitching, coma and even death. Keep them clear of any water that contains cigar or cigarette butts. Ingestion of cigarette patches and nicotine replacement gum are dangerous as well.

Do yourself and your pets a tremendous favor and think about a healthier life for all of you…cigarette-free.

Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio

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