There’s another new reason to try to quit smoking. Use of tobacco and nicotine has been shown to negatively impact the body’s ability to heal bones and wounds. In fact, research shows that any amount of smoking, even taking a drag once in a while, can delay wound-healing. That’s because when you smoke, your blood vessels shrink, meaning it is more difficult for them to carry oxygen, nutrients, and other healing aids to the wound, making the healing process take longer than it does for those who do not smoke.

Most recently, lighting up has been linked to a higher risk of complications from orthopaedic and other surgeries, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

When researchers analyzed records of patients who had total hip replacements between the years 2007 and 2009, the patients who smoked (currently or in the past) had a 92 percent survival rate compared to 99 percent for non-smokers. Overall, patients who smoked also had a higher rate of complications.

Steps you can take, from University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine,
to speed healing:

* Consume more protein (such as from nuts, beans, dairy, fish, and poultry)

* Consume more Vitamin C (such as from citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables)

* Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily

* Avoid caffeine, which causes the body to lose water, therefore drying skin and slowing wound-healing

If you or a loved will be having surgery, talk with your doctor or surgeon about quitting smoking, ideally before the surgery if at all possible. When you smoke, the poison carbon monoxide enters your blood cells, which diminishes the amount of oxygen in your blood, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Three full days of no smoking are required in order to remove the carbon monoxide from a smoker’s blood. If you can’t imagine quitting for the long-haul, and you are having surgery, at least make an attempt to stop smoking three days before surgery so the healing-helper oxygen can build up in your bloodstream again. For more information on how to quit smoking and where to find support resources, go to,, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Would greater risk of complications post-surgery motivate You to quit smoking?