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The 8 reasons why you should quit smoking before an operation

March 13 2019

National No Smoking Day takes place on 13th March, and the risks of smoking (and the benefits of stopping) are well-documented. But did you know that if you are a smoker you are more likely to have an operation cancelled or postponed for health reasons? 
 
Our experts have this advice – for the best results and for the benefit of your health, stop smoking before you have an operation.
 
Here are the 8 reasons why you should quit smoking before you are due to have an operation:
 
  • Non-smokers are less likely to suffer ill effects from anaesthetic. 
  • They will usually make a quicker recovery than smokers, with fewer complications. 
  • An operation scar is also likely to heal more quickly.
  • On average, smokers spend two days longer in hospital recovering from an operation than non-smokers. 
  • Smokers are more likely to develop chest infections and blood clots after an operation and their wounds take longer to heal – smokers are 12 times more likely to develop wound healing complications and they are more at risk of infection than non-smokers.
  • Nicotine increases the heart rate and blood pressure, which adds risk to an operation as it is particularly important that the heart rate, rhythm and blood pressure are kept at a safe level. 
  • Smokers have a higher risk of blood clots and their blood clots faster than that of a non-smoker. After an operation, clots in the legs or lungs can be potentially fatal.
  • Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas found in cigarette smoke, transferring from the lungs to the blood and reducing the blood’s ability to transport oxygen. During an operation a smoker’s blood carries less oxygen, and after an operation a poor oxygen supply to the wound will delay healing and reduce the risk of infection.
 
Advice on quitting smoking can be found here.