Smoking and Anesthesia

It is well documented that smoking has detrimental effects on your health. According to the CDC cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It harms every organ in your body but most notably the lungs and cardiovascular system. Starting with the lungs, tobacco and the chemicals tobacco companies add to their products decrease the health of your lungs in many ways.

  • It stops your lungs ability to clean themselves by paralyzing and killing lung cilia, cilia are hairlike projections that transport debris, microbes and mucus out of the airways.
  • The constant cellular damage tobacco has on your lung tissue increases your risk of lung cancer and other lung diseases such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma.
  • Smoking decreases the lungs ability to oxygenate blood by diminishing O2 diffusion, blood flow and increasing carbon monoxide levels.  

Smoking is also a major cause of cardiovascular disease and increases your risk of complications during surgery by:

  • Damaging your blood vessels, creating narrowing and plaque build up which decreases blood flow to your vital organs. 
  • Narrowed blood vessels cannot optimally adjust to changes in blood flow, volume and oxygen demands increasing patients’ risk of heart attacks and stroke.

It is important for optimal ventilation and oxygenation when undergoing surgeries that need anesthesia for amnesia, comfort and safety. Supplying red blood cells  with oxygen and a strong cardiovascular system to transport the oxygenated blood to vital organs preventing cellar death, is a key factor to decreasing complications during procedures.

We all undergo life changing events that we never thought would happen to use. Remember it’s never too late to quit and is always a good idea to quit prior to surgery. To completely reverse the effects of smoking takes many years but quitting even a week before your operation significantly lowers your risk of complications.

There are many free online resources to help get you on your way such as or 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to get free counseling.

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