As we know too well, smoking isn’t good for our health. It increases our chances of getting lung cancer and heart and lung diseases. This is why healthcare providers advise their patients to quit smoking especially if they’re scheduled for surgery.

Here are some of the reasons why you should quit smoking before surgery:

  1. Smoking increases your risk of anesthesia-related complications.

When you smoke, your heart and lungs don’t work as well as they should. This poses a risk for anesthesia-related complications especially when you’re getting general anesthesia.

  1. Smoking delays wound healing.

Oxygen is needed for your wound to heal. If you are a smoker, you may delay the time it takes for the wound to heal. It’s because smoking narrows the blood vessels, making it hard for oxygen and nutrient-containing blood to get into your wound.

  1. Smoking increases your risk of infection.

The blood contains neutrophils that help fight infection. Smoking makes them lose some of their infection-fighting property, increasing your chances of getting wound infection. If you are a smoker, you are more likely to be prescribed with antibiotics after surgery. Even with that, your risk of getting an infection is still higher compared to a non-smoker.

  1. Smoking increases your risk of getting blood clots.

Smoking can cause your blood to thicken. This makes it hard for the blood to travel through the blood vessels. This greatly increases your chance of blood clot formation and its subsequent consequences – a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.

  1. Smoking delays recovery.

Smoking can make your lungs and heart work harder than they normally would. Hence, if you’re a smoker, you may be hooked to a ventilator, a machine that helps you breathe, after surgery. Depending on how your body responds, it may take you longer than non-smokers to recuperate.

Quitting smoking four to six weeks prior to your surgery and staying smoke-free afterward is highly recommended. Doing so can significantly reduce your risk of complications during and after surgery.


There are free resources out there that can help you quit the habit.