- Current cigarette smokers have an increased risk for postoperative pulmonary complications.
- Smoking cessation at least eight weeks prior to surgery reduces the risk of postoperative complications, and longer periods of smoking cessation may be even more effective.
Smoking: When to stop
- The best time to discontinue smoking in the pre-operative patient is 8 weeks pre-operatively to allow time for improvement in:
- 1. small airway disease
- 2. hypersecretion of mucous
- 3. immune function
- However, cardiovascular function improves in as little as 12 hours post smoking cessation with carbon monoxide and nicotine clearance. If one is unable to get them to quit this early, then the next best time is prior to surgery. This will delay mucus production from smoking cessation for a few days post procedure. All the usual techniques and medications can be employed in this endeavor.
- Bottom line: "any day is a good day to quit smoking but the optimal day is weeks before the procedure".