Smoking is a well-known risk factor for perioperative complications. Smokers experience an increased incidence of respiratory complications during anaesthesia and an increased risk of postoperative cardiopulmonary complications, infections and impaired wound healing. Smokers have a greater risk of postoperative intensive care admission. Even passive smoking is associated with increased risk at operation. Preoperative smoking intervention 6-8 weeks before surgery can reduce the complications risk significantly. Four weeks of abstinence from smoking seems to improve wound healing. An intensive, individual approach to smoking intervention results in a significantly better postoperative outcome. Future research should focus upon the effect of a shorter period of preoperative smoking cessation. All smokers admitted for surgery should be informed of the increased risk, recommended preoperative smoking cessation, and offered a smoking intervention programme whenever possible.
Best Practice and Research: Clinical Anaesthesiology, 2006, Vol 20, Issue 2, p. 237-48