Warning: Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer–in your pets.
That conclusion emerges from a new survey of the home environments of nearly 200 cats hospitalized at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Mass. Eighty of the cats had malignant lymphoma–a feline corollary to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in people; the other cats were diagnosed with a comparably serious disease having no link to smoking.
Compared with animals living in smokefree homes, cats who dwelled for some time with a smoker at least doubled their risk of developing the cancer, report Elizabeth R. Bertone of the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, and her colleagues in the Aug. 1 American Journal of Epidemiology. The longer cats were exposed and the smokier their domicile, the worse their risk. Those in the highest exposure group faced almost a quadrupling in lymphoma risk.
As cancers go, this lymphoma is relatively common, Bertone notes. She says