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Oct 28 11 5:31 PM
From Post Operative Complications
Most people, when thinking of smoking risks only think of diseases directly caused by smoking. But smoking can play a major risk in treating diseases and injuries that in a true sense are not caused by or have anything to do with smoking. I am referring to the risk of postoperative complications.
Many doctors will hold off doing elective or non-essential surgeries for as long as possible in order to give a patient time to be totally smoke free. This is not a practice done for arbitrary reasons. Surgery is much riskier to perform on a smoker.
Your risks of complications of anesthesia or postoperative complications are much higher while you smoke. These complications can be serious, making you suffer much longer and possibly putting your life at risk. The longer you are off prior to surgery, the lower the risk becomes.
One cardiologist I worked with in smoking cessation programs over 25 years ago studied the risk of postoperative complications at the hospital where he was then chief of cardiology and thoracic surgery.
At that time he found that in non-smokers the postoperative complication rate was 1 in 50. Smokers had a rate of 1 in 3. If the surgeries were elective and they could wait for the patient to quit, he found that if the smoker would quit for just a week, the rates were 1 in 12. Of course it wasn't as good as a person who had been off for years but it was far superior to current smokers.
The longer people were off the closer the rate became to non-smokers levels. The important thing is to quit as far ahead of any procedure as soon as possible. The only way to get maximal benefit of longest-term cessation prior to any future surgery is to stay smoke free today and for as long as you live remember a day at a time to never take another puff!
Also from that string:
This thread touches on another aspect of the denial of treatment string. I do realize it is a sensitive issue and I understand the line that it straddles and seems to cross to some people. But often the physician has the best interest of the patient in mind when taking such a hard line approach. I recognize it because it is not all that dissimilar to the hard line approach we take here at Freedom, and for the same reason, we recognize that success or failure in quitting is a life and death issue. Unless viewed that way a smoker is likely to push his or her luck, smoking till the very last moment, sometimes his or her actual last moment. When refusing treatments, physicians and dentists may not only be trying to minimize their liability, improve their statistics or accomplish any other self-serving goal, they are sometimes just trying to save the person's life in the best way they know how, influencing the smoker to quit and then letting them repair what damage they can.
I think the people who responded to this string months ago recognized this issue. I was at my dentist yesterday who coincidently brought up this same topic. He was saying how periodontists often refuse procedures on smokers, one for the chemical irritation that smoking will do to the surgery and the other reason for the sucking motion on a cigarette causing problems with the sutures needed for procedures. He also brought up some issues specific to women and estrogen and smoking that apparently is playing havoc in some periodontal diseases. I am going to look into the issues when I get a chance.
Also when I was leaving the dental office, one of the office staff stopped me because her daughter had just left her a message on how she was going crazy after two days without smoking. I actually ended up in a 15 or 20 minute phone conversation with the daughter. Ended up missing my lunch but it was worth it if it gets her through that all critical third day mark.
I think it is important for everyone here to recognize that you all have been getting an education and an understanding of the nicotine addiction and its treatment that is helping you to stay nicotine free. But that understanding will not only be beneficial for you but for many around you. Most people don't know this information, even some of your medical professionals. Share with them your success and your knowledge.
You would be amazed at just how many people you may touch. When you are at your doctor or dentist, let them know you quit and how you did it and how you feel now that you quit. Don't assume this is uninteresting information, or something they have heard a thousand times before. It may have been told to them by others but they may not have actually heard it or assimilated the material. The most important message you can get across to them is your understanding of nicotine addiction.
Again, being medical professionals they may understand the danger or smoking but they often don't understand and have never been trained on the issue of the nicotine addiction. Share that information. The most important message you can share with them is your understanding of how you stay smoke free and how all their other patients can accomplish the same goal, if they simply understand the importance of remembering to never take another puff!
For anyone who was planning on quitting at some future date but suddenly finds out that he or she may need an emergency surgery this week because of an ongoing smoking induced illness, or because of an sudden onset illness, or because of an accident or injury totally unrelated to your smoking. Your future quit date may do you no good at the time you needed it most, if that time is today. The day you quit smoking you instantly start to reduce your risk of post-operative complications and a host or other problems, and these risks continue to drop throughout your life if you simply stick to your commitment to never take another puff!
I saw where one long-term member recently had to undergo three unrelated surgeries in the span of one month. This post highlights the importance of being smoke free for people who ever has to undergo surgery for any kind of condition--whether treating a problem that was smoking related or not. It is not always possible to avoid the need for surgery, but it is always possible to minimize the risks of surgery and speed up the healing after a surgery by continuing to stick to your personal commitment to never take another puff.
Also related: Smokers lose 6 extra teeth: periodontitis = tooth loss
Oct 28 11 5:34 PM
"I'm safe from smoking related problems by my genetic makeup."
People who delude themselves into thinking smoking poses a minimal risk because of their genetic makeup overlook numerous flaws in their logic.
For one thing, a certain number of people who die from smoking each year die from fires caused by cigarettes. So unless they're genetic makeup has somehow rendered them fireproof this concept is totally overlooked. Another is cigarette smokers have four times as many auto accidents as non-smokers. One of the reasons is simply the handling of the cigarettes while driving. Another factor is the slower reflexes exhibited in smokers due to the large levels of carbon monoxide ingested from cigarettes. So unless your genetic makeup has left you impervious to injury, this is another issue being totally ignored.
Then there are injuries that may be sustained that may not be the fault of the smoker at all-injuries that may require some sort of emergency surgery. Or diseases that have nothing to do with smoking but also require some sort of surgical intervention. Now the smoker has to contend with the increase in postoperative complications caused by smoking. Their wonderfully endowed long-lived ancestors may never have been exposed to some of these lifestyle risks responsible for certain injuries or germs responsible for certain diseases.
When I was first doing smoking programs I worked with a doctor who was viewed by most of his colleagues as an anti-smoking fanatic. He was chief of thoracic surgery at a major veterans hospital in the Chicago area. He related a story to me once about a young medical intern who came across a patient who was 87 years old and in a terminal state dying from lung cancer. But this man had been a two to three pack a day smoker for over 60 years. The intern called in my doctor friend out from the hallway and told him to come see this patient. Here was a man who had smoked extremely heavily and yet was alive at the age of 87. The intern though this man served as a good case in point of how the fanatical doctor was making too big a deal of the risks of smoking.
Well my fanatical colleague walked up to the patient, who was in an oxygen mask and had a very difficult time talking. Without looking at the patients chart he introduced himself and asked the patient two simple questions in front of the excited intern. First he said, "How old was you father when he died." The patient slowly removed his mask, and in a weak and strained voice eeked out, "104 year old." The doctor could have quit there but he proceeded to ask, "How old was your mother when she died." Again, removing the mask he weakly said, "in her late nineties."
The doctor looked at the chart for a few more seconds, nodded to the man and wished him luck, turned around and smiled at the intern and left the room. Here the over enthusiastic intern thought he had a good example of the over exaggerated risks of smoking. Instead he was seeing a man, dying of lung cancer at the age of 87 who probably had a genetic predisposition to have lived longer than another decade, and would likely have been a lot healthier at the tail end of his life than this pulmonary crippled individual he was now showcasing.
Most of us are not blessed with the genetics to live into their hundreds. We need to live life right to achieve a maximum life span. But we are talking more than just longevity. Quality of life also has to be weighed into the equation and smoking interferes with that quality in many negative ways.
Just know trying to play the odds of smoking safely is basically gambling with your life. Smoking is a game of Russian roulette with a very loaded pistol. To minimize the risk of smoking problems which can be devastating to your health and threatening your very life always know the way to stay smoke free is to never take another puff!
Oct 29 11 11:19 AM
Oct 29 11 12:41 PM
Are there social smokers--yes there are. First thing to note though, no one here at Freedom was a social smoker--at least not when they finally quit smoking. We KNOW that because they showed up here at Freedom in the first place. A social smoker would not likely ever type the word "quitting" or "help on quitting" into a search engine. If a social smoker did by chance come upon our site, they would have read for a few minutes, realized none of this applies to them, and never have gone through our application process.
Now that we have established that the people here are not social smokers, who are the social smokers? Well it is not all the people who you think are social smokers. Although before I even address this, the term is almost wrong to start with. Social smoker makes about as much sense in some circles as social leper. There are some people who seem as if they can take it or leave it. I think the term that is used in some scientific communities for these kind of smokers is "chipper," I think used to describe people who smoke under 5 per day.
But not all of the people who can smoke that way are actually in control of their addiction per se. Some of these people NEED those one to four cigarettes. They don't think they do but they do. I meet them all the time in clinics. They are spouses of heavy smokers, who basically never bought cigarettes a day in their life. They "only" smoked them because they were around and to be with the spouse. But when the heavy smoking spouse all of a sudden gets sick and has to quit, the light smoking spouse enthusiastically volunteers to quit to for support. After all, they figured they never really need these cigarettes anyway, quitting will be no big deal.
These people are OFTEN in for a real surprise. They will find themselves buying their first pack in their lives, and going through a worse time than the heavy smoking spouse. Often these people have full blown withdrawals and often, they don't make it ending up being the sole smoker left in the family. They were not "social smokers" after all, they were full blown addicts who were just at a lower tolerance level than most others. But there is no guarantee that over time their tolerance would not have increased and resulted in them turning into heavy smokers who would be viewed as full-fledged smokers by all around them.
The only way for these people to quit and stay off is the same for people who smoke 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or even one hundred cigarettes a day. It is still by understanding to take and keep control over the nicotine addiction entails always knowing to never take another puff!
Oct 29 11 2:26 PM
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