Background: Although research indicates that secondhand smoke (SHS) harms both human and animal health, data on the percentage of pet owners who smoke or allow smoking in their homes are not readily available.
Objective: To investigate pet owners' smoking behavior and policies on smoking in their homes, and the potential for educational interventions to motivate change in pet owners' smoking behavior.
Method: A web-based survey was used with 3,293 adult pet owners. The main outcome measures were smoking behavior of pet owners and their cohabitants; policies on smoking in pet owners' homes; and impact of information about the dangers of pet exposure to SHS on pet owners' smoking intentions.
Results: Twenty-one percent of respondents were current smokers and 27% of participants lived with at least one smoker. Pet owners who smoke reported that information on the dangers of pet exposure to SHS would motivate them to try to quit smoking (28.4%) and ask the people with whom they live to quit smoking (8.7%) or not to smoke indoors (14.2%). Moreover, non-smoking pet owners who live with smokers said that they would ask the people with whom they live to quit (16.4%) or not smoke indoors (24.2%) if given this information. About 40% of current smokers and 24% of non-smokers living with smokers indicated that they would be interested in receiving information on smoking, quitting, or SHS.
Conclusion: Educational campaigns informing pet owners of the risks of SHS exposure for pets could motivate some pet owners to quit smoking. It could also motivate these owners and non-smoking owners who cohabit with smokers make their homes smoke-free.
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