I’ve come to realize in the past couple of days that there’s a huge danger associated with smoking that I’d never heard about before: smoking makes you a really poor surgical candidate.
Surgery is a really stressful event on the body: it basically challenges every organ in your body, from your brain to your heart to your lungs to your kidneys and everywhere else. But surgery is especially hard on your heart, and requires good lungs to provide oxygen to the body. Smoking hits both of these pretty hard. It destroys the lungs with emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and it leads to heart disease and damages your arteries as well.
So if you’re a smoker, and you find out later that you need surgery, some surgeons may consider you a “poor surgical candidate,” meaning you’re a high risk patient that may not respond to the surgery’s stresses well, and may have many more complications and a higher risk of death from the surgery. This is for all types of surgeries: everything from routine hernia repairs to cancer removals to gastric bypasses for obesity. Not only does smoking cause many types of cancer, but it makes you less likely that a surgeon will want to operate on you in the first place. And that’s a place that no one wants to be in their future.