Smokers in Clydebank have been warned that they could be endangering the lives of their pets - by having a fag in the same room as them.

Ahead of Stoptober, an NHS anti-smoking campaign designed to encourage smokers to give up, insurance company More Than have released startling figures which show that 78 per cent of pet owners are knowingly harming their pets by smoking around them.

Their research found that the average cat or dog living with a smoker passively inhale the equivalent of 3,285 cigarettes each year.

Around 2,000 pet owners who smoke took part in the survey with one in five admitting their cat or dog has even eaten cigarettes or smoking-related items in the past, including e-cigarettes.

More than half of pet owners said their pets spend 23 hours or more at home, where chemicals and bacteria released by smoking indoors can linger in the air and cause respiratory problems or cancer.

The findings also reveal how cats or dogs react when their owner begins to smoke, with 30 per cent saying their pet moves away from them.

Andrew Moore, director of pet claims at More Than, who is also a qualified vet, said: “This Stoptober, More Than is calling on pet owners to give up smoking.

“Passive smoking is just as dangerous for pets as it is for humans, and increases the likelihood of them developing cancer and a range of other health issues.

“We urge pet owners that smoke to avoid doing so around their pets or inside their home to reduce their exposure to second-hand smoke.

“Our pets dedicate their lives to us so it is important that we thank them by keeping them happy and healthy.”