Smoking increases the risk for serious complications after major surgery, but
former smokers who stopped at least a year before going under the knife had risks
close to those of never-smokers, according to a new study.
Although current smokers were more likely than non-smokers to die
post-surgery, the former smokers who had quit at least a year before had no
increased risk of death compared to the never-smokers. Current smokers were 17%
more likely to die and 53% more likely to have serious heart and lung problems
than former smokers who had quit, according to the results published in JAMA
Awareness of short-term negative consequences of smoking, like major surgical
complications, might be a better motive to quit than the well known long term
risks, he said.