There are many good reasons to stop smoking; not the least is that smoking cessation may speed post-surgery recovery. Smoking cessation helps a person heal and recover faster, especially in the incision area, or if the surgery involved any bones. Research shows that patients who underwent hip and knee replacements, or surgery on other bone joints, healed better and recovered more quickly if they had quit or cut down their tobacco intake several weeks before the operation. Smoking weakens the bone mineral that keeps the skeleton strong and undermines tissue and vessel health. One study suggested that even quitting tobacco for a few days could improve tissue blood flow and oxygenation, and might have a positive effect on wound healing. If a patient has had a history of heart problems, his chances of having a second heart attack will be lowered. Quitting may also reduce wound complications, and lower the risk of cardiovascular trouble after surgery. If surgery was performed to remove cancerous tumors, quitting will reduce the risk of a second tumor, especially if cancer in the lung, head, or neck has been successfully treated.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do to increase their life expectancy. On average, male smokers who quit at 35 years old can be expected to live to be 76 years old instead of 69 years if they were still smoking. Women who quit would live to be 80 years old instead of 74 years.
Crystal H. Kaczkowski M.Sc., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,