Why Quit Smoking to prepare for bowel surgery?
Many of you probably already know smoking is a risk to your health, but smoking also increases your risk of problems during and after your bowel surgery. Smoking can potentially make it difficult for you to breathe, heal from your wounds or infections, and may even increase your chance of having a heart attack.
Quitting smoking will help you to prepare for a better recovery from abdominal surgery. Specifically, by quitting 4-6 weeks before and staying smoke-free 4 weeks after, you can reduce your rate of wound complications by 50%. Quitting smoking can also help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and decrease your length of hospital stay. Quitting forever can add years to your life.
Link Between Smoking and bowel Surgery
Quitting smoking is not easy, but you may find motivation in knowing that quitting smoking will help ensure you get a better outcome. Numerous studies show that smoking affects recovery and outcomes of abdominal surgery in multiple ways. Here are three examples of research on the link between smoking and bowel surgery:
- Smoking can increase the risk of complications, pneumonia, infections, and mortality rate after many types of bowel surgery, especially among current smokers. [Read more]
- Smoking can reduce the capacity of tissue healing after bowel surgery. Smoking just one cigarette decreases the body's ability to provide nutrients needed for wound healing. [Read more]
- Smoking can increase your chance of getting diverticular diseases of the sigmoid colon. [Read more]
Actions you can take to quit smoking before bowel surgery
- Obtain free nicotine patches or gum from BC Smoking Cessation Program, and then try them at least 1 month before surgery.
It is never too late to quit smoking...Talk to your doctor for more advice.
I loved smoking, and I didn't think I would ever quit, but thanks to the BC Smoking Cessation Program, I did it; I quit. And I never smoked another cigarette.
Resources to Help you quit smoking
QuitNow is a free program for British Columbians looking to quit or reduce tobacco and e-cigarette use, delivered by the BC Lung Association on behalf of the Government of British Columbia.
Quit Smoking Checklist
Download a checklist that can be used while working through a preoperative program such as Strong for Surgery.
HOw to establish a quit plan
How to be strong for surgery
Strong for Surgery has developed tools and resources for patients facing surgery that are available on their website that can be used when you talk with your doctor.
How long should patients be off cigarettes before surgery?
Other resources about quitting smoking before surgery
Active Support to help you achieve your quit smoking goals
If you would like to have active support to you achieve your quit smoking goals, you can connect to our Registered Health Coach™ for more information.
Call Healthlink BC at 8-1-1
BC Smoking Cessation Program is available free and provides medical advice on quitting smoking medications
If you would like to have active support to help you achieve your quit smoking goals, you can email us for more information or support
This website is for people who have planned abdominal surgery for conditions like colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticular Disease, Polyps or other digestive / gastro-intestinal diseases.