NHS Lanarkshire’s Quit Your Way team is partnering with various Lanarkshire vet surgeries to raise awareness of the harms of second-hand smoke.
The initiative aims to give family members and pets the healthiest life possible, including life’s cuddly companions as well as children.
Residents may be aware of the risks of exposure to second-hand smoke for other people, but it also damages the health of pets of all kinds including dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs and even fish, amongst others.
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Pets are at risk in the same way that humans are and to help support pet owners to learn more about preventing these health issues, the Quit Your Way team has distributed information and leaflets to vet surgeries about the health risks of second-hand smoke, advice to minimize exposure and information about the support available should their clients wish to quit smoking altogether.
Quit Your Way offers free support and advice on second-hand smoke and quitting smoking, as well as free Nicotine Replacement Products.
Queensley Ajuyakpe, senior health improvement officer at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We want to give our family the best and healthiest lives we can, and this includes our pets.
“Many Lanarkshire residents love their pets like additional family members and may not be aware that their pets are at risk of health issues from exposure to second-hand smoke. Sharing this important information with local vets will hopefully lead to more residents making their homes and car smoke-free.
“We understand that nicotine is a powerful and addictive substance, help and support tailored to each person’s needs are available to support anyone to stop smoking through Quit Your Way Lanarkshire.”
David Gardner-Roberts MRCVS, veterinary surgeon – ARMAC Vets, Biggar, said: “Smoking tobacco is harmful to pets in the same way it’s harmful to other people in our home.
“Although the smoke we see disappears quickly, the particles are so small that 85 per cent of them are invisible and odourless.
“The levels of invisible but harmful toxins in the air can linger for up to five hours afterwards and pose a threat to pets of all kinds.
“Encouraging a smoke-free environment for children, families and pets can help protect them from inhaling the same toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke, as there is no safe level of second-hand smoke.”
Quit Your Way can be contacted Monday – Friday from 9am until 5pm.
To find out about the stop smoking services and to access the best support to quit in your area call the Quit Your Way helpline on 0800 84 84 84 or visit QuitYourWay.scot
Local community pharmacies can also be visited for free stop smoking support.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.