CATS and dogs whose owners smoke are twice as likely to develop some types of cancer, health chiefs have warned.
Households with pets have been told that their cigarettes are likely to be endangering their animals.
While the harm to humans of passive smoking is now extremely well known, many may not realise the danger to their four legged friends, according to Val Mills, team leader of Bucks Smokefree Support Service.
She said: "As a pet owner I know how important pets can be to people. Some people may not realise that smoking around their pets will affect the health of their animals."
Pooches and felines that live in smoking households are twice as likely to develop some types of cancer than pets in non-smoking households, the service said.
Dogs that are exposed to tobacco smoke are much more likely to suffer with nose and lung cancers than dogs not exposed to smoke.
Smaller pets and birds can also be affected as they are very sensitive to the effects of smoke. Previous research has also found that cats that lived with smokers were twice as likely to develop Feline Lymphona, a serious cancer of the blood and immune system.
Prior to this study, it was thought this type of cancer was caused by a feline leukaemia virus but the results showed exposure to environmental factors such as second-hand tobacco smoke has devastating consequences for cats.
Mrs Mills said: "Our service is here to help smokers who want to quit so that they can make sure that their family and pets will not suffer from passive smoking related disease."
Bucks Smokefree Support Service is available for one-to-one support to help you on the journey to becoming smokefree. Call 0845 2707 222 or visit our www.smokescape.org.