Helping surgical patients to give up smoking

  • D. O. Warner
Conference paper


Perioperative physicians encounter the consequences of long-term tobacco use daily. Patients may require surgery specifically as a consequence of tobacco (e.g., in the case of lung cancer), or smoking-related diseases (e.g., coronary artery disease) may require specific management during surgery for other indications. However, perioperative physicians seldom intervene to help their patients give up smoking. This is most unfortunate, because effective interventions can have two types of benefit. First, there is growing evidence that even short-term abstinence from smoking can improve immediate perioperative outcomes, such as the rate of wound infection [1]. Second, the perioperative period represents a “teachable moment” for smoking cessation [2], and if patients use this opportunity to give up smoking permanently this will have tremendous benefit for their long-term health. For example, in most healthcare facilities, smokers must maintain abstinence while in the facility. This period of forced abstinence may be an excellent opportunity to initiate an attempt at giving up. Also, patients may be much more aware of their health status at such times, and thus more amenable to changes in behaviour that will promote health.


Smoking Cessation Nicotine Dependence Nicotine Replacement Therapy Nicotine Withdrawal Tobacco Dependence 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. O. Warner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA

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