The dangers of secondhand smoking are well known and can affect pets as well as human bystanders. Pets can develop breathing problems from inhaling cigarette smoke and their risk of developing certain types of cancer is increased by exposure to the toxins in cigarettes.
The PDSA considers quitting smoking completely to be the best way for smokers to protect the health of their pets. If you’re considering vaping as an alternative to smoking, there are some small risks to pets that you should be aware of. The main risks are from the nicotine in e-liquids and potential sensitivity to exhaled vapour, both of which are avoidable.
The biggest risk to pets from vaping is actually from e-liquids, which are poisonous to cats and dogs because of the concentration of nicotine in them. If nicotine is ingested rather than inhaled, it is more rapidly absorbed into the blood and can make pets sick very quickly.
It’s important to be aware that the smaller a pet is, the greater their reaction to nicotine will be. Nicotine poisoning is rarely fatal when treated, but it is very dangerous and always necessitates a trip to the vet. E-liquids also pose a specific risk to pet cats as they are often allergic to the key ingredient Propylene Glycol.
It is possible to avoid these risks by preventing your pets from ingesting e-liquids. Always keep e-liquid bottles far out of reach of pets and dispose of empty containers safely. Make sure not to use bins that might be rummaged through by pets.
Although e-liquids pose the biggest risk to pets, ingestion of electrical parts is also a danger. Batteries containing alkaline can cause nasty burns if ingested by dogs or cats. To ensure this doesn’t occur, make sure not to leave e-cigarettes unattended when they are being charged and always store them safely out of reach of inquisitive pets.
Current evidence indicates that exhaled vaping aerosols pose a very low level of risk to bystanders, however animals may be more sensitive to them. Pet birds in particular have very sensitive airways, which can even be irritated by scented candles, and smaller animals will be more affected by exhaled aerosol than larger ones.
In order to minimise the possibility of risk, it is best to vape in a different room to pets or to always open a window when vaping. Open windows help vapour dissipate quickly and limit pets’ exposure to it, decreasing the low risk of secondhand vaping even further.
It is reasonable to be cautious when vaping around pets, especially as cigarettes are a large threat to their health. However, a sensible vaping habit should not harm pets and when used as an alternative to smoking, removes the risks to them from cigarettes.
With over 5 years within the vaping industry, Ian has amassed a wealth of knowledge that is unparalleled throughout the industry. His knowledge extends beyond e-liquids and devices, but covers safety and compliance as well as best practice and more to name but a few.