BASICS: BE SMOKE-FREE FOR SURGERY
Why You Should Stop Smoking for Your Surgery
We recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and stay off cigarettes
until at least one week after. Here’s why:
Reason 1: Heart and lung function starts improving within 12 hours of
quitting as levels of toxins such as carbon monoxide in your body decrease,
improving blood flow and reducing your chances of problems such as a heart
Reason 2: Quitting smoking helps the healing process and reduces the
chances that your wound will become infected after surgery. Quitting also helps
bones heal faster.
Just like you should not eat the morning of surgery, you also should not
smoke the morning of surgery.
Quitting smoking for as long as you can both before and after surgery is one
of the best things you can do to improve your chances of recovering from your
surgery without complications.
Surgery is also a great time to quit for good. Here’s why:
Reason 1: You may be more motivated to make some changes as you think
about your surgery. For many it is a time to reflect and think about ways to
improve their health — and quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do
to improve your health.
Reason 2: Most people find that they have little craving for cigarettes
in the days after surgery.
Reason 3: Depending on the type of surgery you will have, you may be in
the hospital for a few days, and you can’t smoke while in the hospital. This
gives you a great start on quitting for good!
Reason 4: Quitting for good can give you more years of life and reduces
your risk for lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and many other diseases
associated with smoking. It also eliminates secondhand smoke exposure to your
Reason 5: Free help is available, including free medication to help you
quit! Through a Tobacco Quitline, trained specialists provide individualized
advice and a plan to help you quit smoking. Their help is available conveniently
by telephone through Tobacco Quitlines.
If you have thought about quitting for good, there is no better time than now
that you are having surgery.
How You Can Get Help
Tobacco Quitlines (1-800-QUIT-NOW) — A New, Free Service to Help You
What Do They Do?
Tobacco Quitlines use trained specialists (real people, not recordings) to
help you quit smoking. If you have quit already, they can help you stay off
cigarettes. Some Tobacco Quitlines also provide free medications (no
prescription needed) to help you quit.
How Do They Provide This Help?
You talk with a specialist trained to help you quit smoking in a caring,
respectful, non-judgmental and supportive way. They will take the time to
understand your situation, and work with you to devise a plan that is right for
you. For example, they will talk with you about what have you tried in the past.
If you have quit already, they can help you plan how to stay off cigarettes. If
you are having difficulty quitting, your tobacco specialist still will continue
to work with you to get back on track in a caring and supportive way no matter
what happens. They will be there for you when you need them.
What Will Happen If I Call?
The first call to the quitline number is just a brief call to schedule a time
that works for you for the specialist to call back and talk with you. They will
call only at times that are convenient for you. The first session with the
specialist lasts about 45 minutes. Subsequent sessions last 10 to 15 minutes.
The number of call sessions, all scheduled at times that work for you, is
determined with the specialist. Most people find a total of four to five calls
are most helpful. The same specialist works with you for all sessions. If at any
time you decide that you don’t want to use the Quitline any more, just tell them
and they will not call you again.
When Can I Call?
Calls to Tobacco Quitlines can be made anytime. The best time to talk to the
specialist is up to you and depends on your situation. It may be before surgery,
while hospitalized after surgery or after you get back home. Remember that the
first call is to schedule a time that works for you for that initial session
with the specialist. The specialist will then call you at the number you
Do They Provide Medications to Help Me Quit or Stay Quit?
Many Tobacco Quitlines can arrange to have medications that can help you quit
or stay quit delivered to you completely free of charge. Examples are nicotine
patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. Even if they do not provide free
medications, they can tell you about a variety of available medications to help
you quit, many available without a prescription.
Is There Any Cost to Me for Calls or for the Specialist’s Help?
A toll-free number is used to call the Tobacco Quitlines. There is no charge
for any help the specialists provide. Bottom line is that there is no cost to
you for the calls or the specialist’s help.
Is My Privacy Protected?
Your privacy is protected. No one else will have access to any information
you share with the Tobacco Quitline specialist. For example insurance companies
will not have access to your information. In addition, the specialists will not
have access to information in your medical record. Lastly, your healthcare
providers will not have access to information you share with the Tobacco
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