How Cosmetic Surgery Can Help You Quit Smoking

Sep 7, 2019 | Food for thought | 0 comments

Bad habits are notoriously hard to kick.

People need a very persuasive reason to make a conscious decision to break a habit – and then stick to it.

Take smoking for example. Smokers know all the health reasons why they should be quitting the habit right now. But many choose to enjoy the pleasure of cigarettes anyway.

It was very interesting therefore, when the Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery(the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons) found after a long-term study* that many patients are likely to quit smoking, or at least smoke less, after they have undergone cosmetic surgery.

The link between smoking cessation and cosmetic surgery was clearly proven during follow-ups, when about 40% of patients who were surveyed said they no longer smoked on a daily basis, and nearly 25% said they had completely stopped smoking since their surgery procedure


Here are 4 possible reasons that could be bringing about this change:

# 1: Pre-Op Warning By Plastic Surgeons

There are many ways that smoking affects health. But a plastic surgeon’s primary concern is the fact that nicotine can impact the wound healing process. (Smoking reduces blood flow, depleting oxygen to the skin, which in turn, delays wound healing.)

Typically, a surgeon will insist that patients quit smoking for at least two weeks before a procedure. And patients will do their best to comply, setting the ball rolling towards being addiction-free.

# 2: The Problem Becomes Personal

In spite of all the health warnings put out by the media, requests from friends and family and increasing restrictions on where one can legally smoke these days, people who are addicted to the habit rarely see it as a personal problem. If they did, they would have quit a long time ago.

This is especially true if they have never experienced any complications due to smoking so far.

So, the first time the issue actually becomes personal is in the plastic surgeon’s clinic, when the plastic surgeon refuses to perform any surgery if they cannot commit to being smoke-free first. This refusal can act as an unexpected wake-up call, forcing smokers to finally confront their addiction.

# 3: Awareness Of The Cost Of Smoking

Rarely do addicts stop to calculate the cost of the habit they support. A situation when they’re forced to quit—temporarily, at least—gives them the pause to consider how expensive cigarettes are. A-pack-a-day smoker spends an average of $ 5,500 a year to maintain the habit. That’s a significant chunk of money that could be spent in more useful ways.

# 4: Newfound Motivation To Make Positive Changes

Any patient who opts for an elective procedure is doing so because they want to look good and feel good about themselves. Once they see the post-operative transformation, their self-confidence skyrockets, which inspires them to make more positive changes to improve their lives. It is no surprise that they are better equipped to confront their smoking habit and do what they can to finally quit!

* Journal Reference: Van Slyke, Aaron C. M.D., M.Sc.; Carr, Michael B.Sc.; Knox, Aaron D. C. M.D., M.P.H.E.; Genoway, Krista M.D.; Carr, Nicholas J. M.D. Perioperative and Long-Term Smoking Behaviors in Cosmetic Surgery Patients. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 2017.