How Smoking Harms Our Animals


We can all agree that nobody in their right mind would wish to hurt their animals or pets intentionally. One thing that is very often overlooked though is the massive harm that can be caused to animals when they’re exposed to the toxic substances within cigarettes.

Of course, we’re not suggesting that anyone is allowing their labrador to unwind after a long walk with a pack of 10 B&H Blue, but it’s been long established that a vast amount of the harm caused by cigarette smoke comes in the form of passive, or secondhand, smoking.

This certainly doesn’t apply only to humans.

The Effects of Passive Smoking on Animals

Passive smoking occurs when the airborne toxins of cigarette smoke, both visible and invisible, are ingested by anyone other than the smoker.


By now, we’re sure most people are aware of the harmful effects caused by passive smoking on our respiratory systems and other areas of the body.

Though these negative consequences have been widely considered where people are concerned, their effects on the animal kingdom are often not considered.

Passive smoking can cause a host of problems for the animals it affects, including but not limited to:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Nasal Cancer
  • Respiratory Infections (Bronchitis, Pneumonia, etc.)
  • Eye Infections
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke

The Impacts of Smoking at Horse Racing Events

At horse racing events, large outdoor areas are often allocated to smokers, allowing them somewhere to gather in order to smoke their cigarettes.

Of course, the risk to those within, or near to, this area is very apparent.


However, despite these areas being within an outdoor setting, when large numbers of smokers congregate and all smoke at once, the airborne toxins can travel much further than just the confines of the dedicated smoking area.

Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and odourless, so even when the surrounding areas may appear to be safe at first, the general vicinity is often filled with the toxic compounds created by smoking.

When horses inhale these compounds, they’re at risk of developing any of the above mentioned health difficulties, and with racing days being a regular occurrence for a lot of these horses, those risks are compounded due to increased exposure.

How Can We Lower the Risks?

The only actionable decision we have available to us as individuals, when it comes to decreasing the risks of passive smoking on animals, is to quit smoking.

There are many smoking cessation methods available, all with varying levels of effectiveness.

Many have found success in using traditional nicotine replacement methods, such as nicotine patches, and chewing gums.

By far the most effective method of quitting cigarettes is vaping, which has been shown to have anywhere up to a 74% effectiveness rating.

Is Passive Vaping a Risk Factor?

Due to the similar delivery method of vaping products to cigarettes, it’s only fair to wonder if passive vaping might also be harmful to the health of our animals.

Thankfully, due to e-cigarette vapours being much less dense than cigarette smoke, they’re a lot more readily dispersed and diffused away from crowds.

Furthermore, the government has stated that vapes are at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes, so a vast amount of the risk is instantly removed from the equation. Of course, overall we do suggest that no matter what we’re doing in life, we should always consider the health and wellbeing of the animals we’re responsible for keeping safe, and do our very best to minimise any potential harm to them.


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News Team

Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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