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Smokers Likely to Quit for Fido's Health, Not Their Own

DETROIT, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- One in three smokers say they are likely to quit smoking because it is bad for their pet's health, according to Henry Ford Health System researchers.

The study, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal Tobacco Control, represents the first time researchers looked at the smoking behaviors of people who own or live with a pet. Participants were either smokers or non-smokers who lived with a dog, cat or bird.

"We hope smokers realize that the health of their pets is affected by their smoking habit, and that secondhand smoke's impact is not limited just to human beings," says Sharon Milberger, Sc. D, the study's lead author interim director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. "Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to cancer, allergies, eye and skin diseases and respiratory problems in dogs and cats."

Nearly 3,300 people responded to an online survey available through the Michigan Humane Society, Pet Supplies Plus pet stores and Henry Ford Health System. The survey posed questions about the animals living in the home, smoking behaviors for themselves and of the people with whom they live, interest in quitting smoking and smoking rules in the home.

Henry Ford researchers reported that:

-- 28.4 percent of smokers said knowing that smoking was bad for their pets' health would motivate them to kick the habit.

-- 8.7 percent of smokers said knowing that smoking was bad for their pets' health would motivate them to ask their smoking partners to quit.

-- 14 percent of smokers said they would tell their partner to smoke outdoors.

Among non-smokers, more than 16 percent said they would ask their partner to quit and 24 percent said they would tell their partner to smoke outdoors.

The study was funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute in Miami, Fla.

SOURCE Henry Ford Health System
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