The health benefits of quitting smoking are numerous and well documented. Non-smokers live longer, have less risk of cancer, and have fewer instances of heart and lung disease. Despite these well-known statistics, however, many people continue to smoke–but if you’re seriously considering plastic surgery, quitting is a choice you need to make.
Aside from the typical health risks, smoking puts a surgical candidate at risk for many complications during and after the procedure. Nicotine, the primary addictive agent in cigarettes, is incredibly dangerous. It constricts blood vessels, thus cutting off blood flow, causing tissue to actually die or at least interfere with healing. Patients who continue to smoke can also experience more post-surgery infections and pronounced post-surgical scarring.
Non-smokers have cosmetic advantages over smokers as well. Smokers suffer from yellow-stained teeth and fingers, bad breath, and offensive odor that sticks to clothing and furniture. For the plastic surgery candidate whose goal is to look better, quitting smoking is double-win…improved health AND looks!
Most board certified surgeons will require you to stop smoking for a period of time before surgery, and at least six weeks after surgery. When your surgeon asks about your smoking habits during a consult, it is imperative to be honest. If you are having trouble quitting, or are on the fence about making the leap, here are some things to remember:
- Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people who already have smoking-related disease and those who don’t.
- Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking.
- Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
- Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
- The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the small weight gain (usually less than 10 pounds) or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.