If you smoke, how will it affect your operation?

Smoking (tobacco or other substances) causes harm to your body in many different ways. This can all affect your anaesthetic and your surgery with increased risk of complications around the time of your operation. These complications include chest infections, poor healing and wound infections, or even heart attacks or strokes.

To gain maximum benefit, stopping for up to 8 weeks is ideal and will put you on a good track for quitting permanently. However, even stopping for a short while before your operation can be beneficial. These benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of lung problems after your operation such as chest infections
  • Reduced risks of heart attacks during and after your operation
  • Better, bone and wound healing and a decrease in the risk of wound infections
  • Reduced risk of skin or tissue grafts from failing

All these benefits usually mean a reduced length of hospital stay, meaning you will be home faster after your operation. If you can stop smoking permanently, then you reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer or premature death in the future.

Help to Stop Smoking

We recognise that stopping smoking is often a very difficult thing to achieve. In hospital, we can prescribe nicotine patches as replacement to take the edge off cravings you may experience.

At home the NHS Fife stop smoking service can help and guide you on how to stop smoking before your operation and for good.

More information on lifestyle changes can be found on the Centre for Perioperative Care website.

Smoking on NHS Fife Grounds /Hospitals

The Scottish Government's tobacco strategy document "Creating a Smokefree Generation" states that all NHS sites including their grounds should be smokefree by March 2015. NHS Fife, along with all NHS boards in Scotland are required by the Scottish Government to comply with that directive.

NHS Fife is committed to making its premises free from Tobacco Smoke, to improve population health and to meet the requirements of Scottish Government Strategy.