Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke

A new study recently published in the medical journal Lancet reveals that second-hand smoke is responsible for approximately 600,000 deaths worldwide each year. The study also reported that about 40% of children and 30% of non-smoking men and women regularly inhale second-hand smoke. This means that second-hand smoking is responsible for 1% of all deaths worldwide each year.

It has long been known that smoking has a negative impact on wound healing in patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures. Cigarette smoking results in less oxygen being delivered to the tissues as they are trying to heal. Cigarettes also contain nicotine which results in decreased blood flow (and oxygen) to healing tissues. The decreased oxygen and blood flow can result in poor wound healing, tissue necrosis, and resultant poor cosmetic results.

What many people fail to realize is that second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous as smoking. If a patient is a non-smoker but regularly inhales second-hand smoke, they are as much at risk of wound healing problems (and other health problems as the study referenced above demonstrates) as are patients who regularly smoke cigarettes.

The take-home message from all of the above is that for anyone who is considering having a cosmetic procedure, it is vital to avoid both smoking and second-hand smoke. This will greatly increase the chances of having an excellent cosmetic result and avoiding any postoperative complications.

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