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Having surgery is a good time to quit smoking

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  • Written By: John Mansell, MD, FASA
Having surgery is a good time to quit smoking

Another New Year has arrived with its accompanying resolutions for those of us willing to try to improve something about themselves.

As healthcare providers we are tasked with reminding you to eat right, sleep, exercise and quit bad habits. Any advantage or tip we can give you to quit a bad habit is probably a good thing.

One such advantage revealed in a Mayo Clinic study by Dr. David Warner, was that people who had minor outpatient surgery had a 30% increased success rate in quitting smoking, and larger surgeries increased this success rate to 50%.

So, if you smoke or vape and have surgery this year, take advantage of the event to fix more than one thing.

More than one hundred other clinical studies show that smokers have double the risk of getting a wound infection after surgery, a 70% increased risk of pneumonia and a 60% increased risk of having to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. Using nicotine gum or patches has been shown to reduce these risks to the same as non-smokers.

This is motivating information that probably contributes to why the success rate to quit smoking is higher around having surgery, and accounts for an estimated 8% of all people who quit smoking every year.

Even if you can stop smoking temporarily around surgery you will enjoy a significant reduction in surgical risks. If you do quit smoking temporarily around surgery, and try to permanently quit, you have a better chance of quitting. In addition to the free resources at 1-800-QUITNOW check your phone for apps and links for other free ways to help you quit. Local links include and

As we tiptoe hopefully into 2022, we wish you a healthy year. If you smoke or vape and want to quit, this could be your year to succeed.

John Mansell, MD, FASA, is Chief of Staff at Campbell County Memorial Hospital.

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Family Medicine, Campbell County Medical Group Complex and Internal Medicine, Campbell County Medical Group Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine, Surgery, Wellness