New Year’s Resolution #1: Tobacco Cessation

New Year’s Resolution #1: Tobacco Cessation

Created on: Thursday, December 29, 2016
Author: Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists

Like many people, you may be considering a New Year’s resolution in 2017. One of the most common goals is abandoning smoking and tobacco use. Tobacco use has steadily declined in the past decade, but about 15% of U.S. adults reported being a smoker in 2015.   

The health risks of tobacco use have been widely reported, including: high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, among others. Sports & Orthopaedic Specialists advises patients who currently smoke or use tobacco products begin a smoking cessation program, especially patients who are considering surgical options for treatment.
Tobacco use has potential to cause complications and slow down the process of post-surgical recovery, making it harder for patients to return to daily activities and work. Studies have found that in patients undergoing shoulder surgery, 84% of non-smokers had good surgical outcomes compared to 35% of smokers.
The main active ingredient in tobacco products, nicotine, has multiple negative effects for patients recovering from surgery. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it decreases the size of veins and arteries in the body, resulting in a reduction of blood flow to tissues throughout the body. A decrease in blood flow reduces the amount of crucial nutrients that are able to reach these injured tissues, subsequently increasing the risk of re-injury, surgical site infection, as well as recovery time. Nicotine also increases the accumulation of platelets in blood, which can potentially form a blood clot. If this blood clot becomes dislodged and becomes trapped in the brain or heart, it can cause a life-threatening stroke or heart attack.
Quitting smoking and tobacco use is one of the most important ways to ensure improved recovery following surgery. If you are looking for resources to help quit smoking, Allina Health and the Minnesota Department of Health offer multiple resources.

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