You likely know quitting smoking reduces the risk of serious problems like cancer. What may surprise you is the relationship between smoking and surgery.
Here’s why understanding this connection matters for employers and health plans, especially right now:
Ways to help individuals quit smoking before—and after—surgery
Research shows that just having surgery will increase the chances that smokers will quit and that getting help will further increase their chances.
Unfortunately, most of those facing surgery are not offered this help by their doctors or other healthcare providers.
A recent study shows that although most physicians report consistently advising their patients who smoke to quit, only about a quarter provided them any help in quitting according to guideline recommendations. It’s not that these professionals don’t care, but many don’t have the time or the training to help.
For this reason, my team and others have worked on specific methods that can help surgical patients quit.
For example, research shows that digital interventions such as text messaging can be effective in helping smokers quit. We’ve found that such interventions are well-received by surgical patients and can be tailored to their particular needs. Patients also need to know that they have easy-access quit support available to them.
Act now to positively impact outcomes
Employers and health plans can play an important role in helping employees and members better understand the need to quit tobacco prior to any surgery. The result will be improved postoperative outcomes and a reduction healthcare costs because postoperative complications caused by smoking are expensive.
The time to act is now.
Built in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, the EX Program provides personalized digital and human-powered support to quit tobacco. For more information on the EX Program, please visit the Program page.