Surgery – A Good Time to Quit Smoking

January 17, 2008

Quitting smoking is just about the best thing anyone can do for their health.

Are there any benefits to smoking, now that it no longer has much sex appeal, and the French have even banned it in the cafes of the Champs Elysees? The only medical benefit of smoking I know of is a reduction in the risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). The cause is not certain, but numerous studies have shown this to be true. Although PONV isn’t much fun this is not, I hasten to add, a good reason to take up the noxious weed before your next operation.

No SmokingSmoking creates added risk for people having surgery and anesthesia. For instance, smoking increases your risk of respiratory complications, and your risk of wound infection.

The perioperative period (before and immediately after surgery) creates forced abstinence – try lighting up in the surgical ward these days and you will pretty soon find yourself surrounded by irate nurses, fellow patients and possibly the security staff. So surgery represents a perfect opportunity to quit.

A new meta-analysis (study of studies) in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia confirms that the preoperative setting represents a “teachable moment”. Read the rest of this entry »