It is common knowledge that smoking is hazardous to hearts, lungs and blood vessels. Most people are not aware, however, that smoking can have serious negative effects on wound healing after surgery. Nicotine causes small blood vessels to go into spasm, preventing the vessels from delivering oxygenated blood where it is critically needed for healing. Wound healing complications in smokers have been reported to increase up to 14 times over non-smokers. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to have a smooth course after surgery and to improve your present and future health.
The Washington State Department of Health has free cessation services available to state residents. The toll-free Tobacco Quit Line is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). They also provide a web site for quit tips and useful related information (www. Quitline.com). The Department of Health website provides information a variety of health topics, including tobacco prevention (www.doh.wa.gov).