Stop Smoking Before Surgery Program (SSBS)

Smokers are at a greater risk of surgical complications than non-smokers. It takes longer for their surgical wounds to heal and those wounds are more likely to become infected.

Because of these facts, it is beneficial for surgical patients to stop using tobacco 8 weeks prior to having surgery to help reduce the risk of complications. By quitting smoking before surgery patients:

  • experience fewer complications when under anesthesia during surgery
  • wounds will heal more quickly
  • surgical wounds are less likely to get infected
  • decreased risk of lung and chest infection after surgery
  • reduced length of hospitalization
  • and their chances increase for long-term success with smoking cessation

That’s why the Prevention Program developed the Stop Smoking Before Surgery (SSBS) program, an intervention program for patients on surgical waiting lists in British Columbia. SSBS aims to deliver resources, such as referrals to provincial smoking cessation programs, to smokers during the critical period when they are preparing for surgery.

The evidence is clear that quitting eight weeks before surgery reduces all risks of smoking-related operative complications. So timing is critical. This program can be introduced to surgeons, family physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and dental hygienists. It can mean that more patients can be finding out the benefits of stopping smoking when it will have maximum effect – and that may start smokers on the way to quitting for good.

To date BC Cancer Prevention Program has been successful in partnering with Northern Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, British Columbia Dentist Association, and the Chinese Canadian Medical Society (BC) in creating promotional SSBS materials.

Here are some articles and evidence reviews on the effectiveness of getting patients to quit smoking before surgery:

Please connect with us if you are interested in exploring partnership opportunities or if you wish to order some of above SSBS promotional materials.

Tel. (604) 877-6227 or tollfree within BC: 1-800-663-3333 x6227

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