Reasons to quit smoking - Surgery

Reasons to quit smoking - Surgery

Surgery and the effects of smoking

Many smokers are by now aware that giving up smoking will drastically improve your health, but did you know that by stopping smoking before major surgery drastically improves your recovery time and chances of survival?

Smoking can cause a number of complications during and after surgery for a number of reasons. For example, did you know that smokers are 38% more likely to die after surgery than non-smokers? 

Here are some facts, following surgery smokers:

  1. Have a higher risk of lung and heart complications
  2. Have a higher risk of post-operative infection and impaired wound healing
  3. Generally require longer hospital stays
  4. Frequently require higher drug doses
  5. Are more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit
  6. Have an increased risk of emergency re-admission

One of the main reasons is the effect that smoking has on the respiratory system. Smokers generally have lower oxygen levels in their blood and lower absorption rates which means that they require higher levels of anaesthesia and have longer recovery times. Smokers often need oxygen therapy after surgery to improve oxygen delivery to their tissues to help the healing process.

However, all is not lost, even giving up smoking a few days before surgery can increase your chances of recovering quicker and help reduce the risks. The evidence to date shows that vaping, as opposed to smoking, will improve your chances of recovery and reduce the risks of surgery and pos-operative complications. It also shows that no major concerns have been identified about the use of electronic cigarettes.

For people who are concerned about reports in the U.S of people getting seriously ill, and even dying after vaping, having had illegal street-bought substances, should note that there are no such safety issues regarding UK-regulated nicotine vaping products.

If you're worried about smoking or vaping prior to surgery make sure you speak to your doctor or nurse who can advise you about how to quit smoking and how it will improve your recovery.