Why It Matters to Stop Smoking after Weight Loss Surgery

Why It Matters to Stop Smoking after Weight Loss SurgerySmoking is not a healthy habit. You don’t have to go looking for information to know this fact. Turn on the TV, get on any public transit, or even take a ride down the highway where billboards line the streets and you’ll come across countless anti-smoking advertisements that will tell you all the reasons why smoking is a bad idea for your health.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, followed shortly by obesity. If you are going through such lengths to get rid of one of these chronic issues, why would you want to keep the other?

Tobacco and Weight Loss

Tobacco use is actually more prevalent among obese people than it is across the general population, with up to 38 percent of obese individuals being regular users of tobacco products. When you are making the choice to undergo weight loss surgery, it is time to put the tobacco products away for good. Aside from the standard health issues that smoking causes, from increasing risk of heart and lung disease to damaging the skin and posing an increased risk of cancer, smoking is a surgical risk factor.

Bariatric surgery has a rather low risk factor, with under a one percent mortality risk. Among smokers, however, that risk doubles. This means that you are twice as likely to experience serious surgical complications leading to death if you are a smoker. Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to experience non-fatal surgical risks, too. This is just part of the reason why so many weight loss surgeons mandate that smoking cessation happens at least one year prior to surgery.

Smoking increases your risk of experiencing the following surgical complications:

  • Blood clots
  • Pneumonia
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Surgical wound infection

Smokers have almost a 30 percent complication rate after weight loss surgery, which is astoundingly higher than the surgical complication rate for non-smokers.

Even after weight loss surgery, smoking could inhibit your ability to lose weight and will negatively influence your health in drastic ways, even as your health would improve as you lose weight. Weight loss surgery puts the power to improve your health in your hands, offering you a chance to drastically increase your lifespan even, sometimes by as much as 10-15 years. Smoking puts a huge damper on your health, and makes living up to the lifelong dietary and behavioral changes even harder. If you have a history of smoking, quitting before surgery is a must. As you work with a weight loss support group, also seek out a smoking cessation support group who can help you quit smoking for good.