Why We Doctors Lecture Patients About Smoking

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Reading Time: 2 minutes

I know from my experience in the clinic just how bored, and irritated, smokers are by the doctors who constantly tell them they need to stop smoking. I hate having to do it because I know that all smokers have tried on countless occasions to stop.

The reason I have to talk to smoking patients about this is that the risks of a surgical complication, ill health after surgery, an extended stay in hospitals or the need for high dependency treatment all increase significantly for smokers*. This is one of the reasons many NHS Trusts are now denying weight loss surgery to people who smoke.

As someone who spends much of my working day looking at the tissue of the stomach in my operating theatre, I can promise you that the quality of the tissue in a non-smoker is vastly superior to that of a smoker.

A study showed that smoking significantly increased the incidence of prolonged intubation (anaesthetic problems), reintubation, sepsis, shock, and length of stay.

This means that the risks of the stomach tearing or bleeding are increased. Its especially worrisome for patients that have sleeve surgery because the risk of staple line leakage, generally the hardest post-operative complication to treat, is increased.

I don’t expect my patients who smoke to give up permanently but it is important that they don’t smoke for a period before surgery. 4-6 weeks would be helpful and a similar period afterwards. Whilst we would prefer patients to stop smoking altogether we have to be realistic about what can be achieved.

So, if you smoke, please discuss it with your surgeon as it is likely to affect the type of surgery recommended and will certainly affect the pre-operative and post-operative regime.

This shouldn’t put smokers off weight loss surgery, they can achieve life-changing results, just like any other patient, we just need to make the appropriate arrangements for your safe treatment and recover.

Rishi Singhal

Rishi Singhal

Rishi is an expert bariatric surgeon based in the West Midlands and also Medical Director at Healthier Weight

We're still here!

Like the rest of our great country we’re keeping calm and carrying on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have healthy staff available (and probably like a lot of you, working from home) we’re here to talk to you about your weight loss options. 

Procedure bookings

While we can’t promise we can actually perform your procedure within the next several months, there is still opportunity to go through the eligibility and consultation stages. Our surgeons are on-hand to consult with you over the phone or Facetime (if available).

If you’d like to get ahead of the curve and plan a weight loss procedure with us in the future, we can add you to a priority waiting list for when we’re able to book hospital places again.

  • 0800 313 4618

Mon-Sat, 9am – 7pm

Request a callback

I'm happy to receive marketing email from Healthier Weight only. We never share or sell data with third parties.

Call our specialist team today on
0800 313 4618 
Get a quote 
This website uses cookies to improve service and provide tailored ads. By using this site, you agree to this use. Learn more