Is Electronic Cigarette Second-Hand “Smoke” Dangerous to Pets?

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Secondhand smoke from regular cigarettes has long been known to be dangerous to pets. Science Daily reported in 2007 that “secondhand smoke has been associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds.”

Electronic cigarettes are quickly becoming a popular alternative to cigarettes — so what about their mist-like emissions? Can these be dangerous to pets as well?

What’s in Electronic Cigarette Emissions?

While electronic cigarettes do not emit the same smoke that tobacco cigarettes do, they do still release aerosols into the air. And since the FDA doesn’t currently regulate electronic cigarettes, manufacturers aren’t required to reveal the ingredients.

The FDA recently released a statement that explains that “E-cigarettes contain volatile organic substances, including propylene glycol, flavors and nicotine,” which “are emitted as mist or aerosol into indoor air.” The report added that “considerable indoor air pollution” from the use of electronic cigarettes could cause “harmful second-hand exposure.”

Some studies on electronic cigarettes have been done, showing that emissions include levels of sodium, iron, aluminum, and nickel at even higher levels than what’s found in cigarette smoke. Lead was also present at comparable levels to cigarette smoke.

“Nickel and chromium are carcinogenic and lead is suspected to be carcinogenic,” the FDA noted.

What this Means for Pets

Because emissions from electronic cigarettes contain some of the same harmful substances, it’s entirely likely that there are similar health risks to pets from secondhand inhalation of electronic cigarette emissions.

Read the FDA’s full statement.

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