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Date:4/9/2009

The American Legacy Foundation(R) and ASPCA(R) Urge Pet Owners to Safeguard Their Pets from a Silent Killer -- Secondhand Smoke

WASHINGTON, April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Legacy Foundation(R) is challenging pet owners to quit smoking for their pets during the month of April, which kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. A growing body of research shows there are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke -- for humans or for animals. And one new study shows that nearly 30 percent of pet owners live with at least one smoker -- a number far too high given the consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke ("SHS").

"Secondhand smoke doesn't just affect people," said Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation(R), the national independent public health foundation dedicated to keeping young people from smoking and providing resources to smokers who want to quit. "While most Americans have been educated about the dangers of smoking to their own bodies, it is equally important that pet owners take action to protect their beloved domestic pets from the dangers of secondhand smoke."

An estimated 50,000 Americans lose their lives to secondhand smoke annually and 4 million youth (16 percent) are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. A number of studies have indicated that animals, too, face health risks when exposed to the toxins in secondhand smoke, from respiratory problems, allergies and even nasal and lung cancer in dogs and lymphoma in cats. In addition, the ASPCA, one of the largest animal rights groups in the U.S., lists tobacco smoke as a toxin that is dangerous to pets.

"Nicotine from secondhand smoke can have effects to the nervous systems of cats and dogs," said Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Medical Director of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. "Environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to co
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SOURCE American Legacy Foundation
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