The 8 reasons why you should quit smoking before an operation

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.