Smoking and Anesthesia

Smoking can cause significant health problems, from heart disease to asthma to lung cancer. And if you are having surgery, it also can increase the risk of anesthesia-related complications like wound infections, pneumonia and heart attack. Here’s how:

  • If you smoke, your heart and lungs don’t work as well as they should and you may have breathing and lung problems during or after surgery.
  • After surgery, you are much more likely to need a ventilator – a machine that breathes for you – because of your increased risk of breathing and lung problems.

That’s why it’s important to quit smoking as soon as possible before surgery and for as long as possible after. Quitting at least a week before the procedure is ideal, but even quitting the day before surgery can help. Research shows the body begins to heal within hours of quitting smoking. The lungs begin to function better and blood flow improves which is important for getting through surgery safely and healing from it quickly.

Surgery might present the perfect time to kick the habit for good. Physician anesthesiologists are heart and lung specialists and during surgery, they see first-hand the heavy toll smoking takes on the body which is why they strongly encourage anyone who smokes to quit for good. Quitting improves your overall health and can:

  • Add at least six to eight years to your life
  • Reduce your risk of lung cancer and heart disease
  • Save you an average of $1,400 a year
  • Reduce your loved ones' exposure to second-hand smoke

Free help to quit smoking is available by calling 1-800-QuitNow, where you will be connected to trained specialists who can guide you and provide a customized plan to help you quit.