Patients who stop smoking at least four weeks before an operation significantly reduce the risk of having post-surgical complications, according to a new study by The World Health Organisation (WHO) the University of Newcastle in Australia and the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA).
The study said that minor or non-essential operations on regular smokers could be delayed to give them time to quit and thereby improve outcomes such as wound healing and heart function. The study found that every additional tobacco-free week beyond the four weeks improved health outcomes by 19% due to improved blood flow throughout the body to essential organs.
“The report provides evidence that there are advantages to postponing minor or non-emergency surgery to give patients the opportunity to quit smoking, resulting in a better health outcome,” Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of the No Tobacco unit at WHO, said in a statement. WHO said that all countries should build cessation programmes and educational campaigns into their health systems to spread awareness and help people to quit smoking.