Stopping smoking before surgery could save millions: Ontario's
Anesthesiologists

TORONTO, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - During National Non-Smoking Week, Ontario's Anesthesiologists (OA) are once again urging patients to stop smoking before surgery in order to protect their own health. In addition, Ontario's Anesthesiologists estimate that if every smoker scheduled for surgery stopped 6-8 weeks prior to their procedure, approximately $122 million could be saved by the health care system.

"We know that patients who stop smoking before surgery not only reduce their risk of complications, but also speed up their recovery time," said Dr. Steven Bodley, Chair of Ontario's Anesthesiologists at the Ontario Medical Association. "Patients that recover more quickly spend less time in hospital and can free up space, saving much needed health care dollars that can be reinvested back into patient care."

OA pointed to the findings of a study published in The Lancet which revealed that the median length of stay for patients dropped if they stopped smoking before surgery. For patients who quit smoking in the 6-8 weeks before surgery, their stay was 11 days, compared to 13 days for those who had simply reduced the amount they smoked by at least 50 percent.

It is estimated that each inpatient at an acute care hospital in Ontario costs $915 per day. That means for every patient that stops smoking 6-8 weeks prior to surgery and spends two less days recovering in hospital there is a potential savings of about $1,830. See backgrounder for further breakdown.

Other benefits to patients who stop smoking before surgery include:

    
    -   48% of smokers experienced breathing problems after surgery, compared
        to 17% of smokers who had quit more than 8 weeks before surgery.
        (Warner et al. Anesthesiology 1984; 60:380-383);
    -   Overall complication rates for smokers vs. quitters drop from 52% to
        18% (Moller et al. The Lancet 2002 Jan :114-117); and
    -   Wound infection rates for smokers vs. non-smokers drop from 12% to 2%
        (Sorensen et al. Annals of Surgery 2003 July:1-5).
    

In order to get this important information into the hands of patients, OA will be distributing pamphlets and posters to several hospitals including, North Bay General, Mt. Sinai, Sault Area Hospitals, The Scarborough Hospital, and North York General. In addition, OA is calling on all allied health professionals involved in the surgical process to help ensure that patients who smoke are given the resources and knowledge needed to safely prepare for surgery.

"We want patients who smoke to know the proactive steps they can take to improve their surgical experience," said Dr. Bodley. "Having all members of the surgical team involved in this process will help show patients that we're all here to help ensure their success, which might even give them the push they need to quit for good."

For more information go to http://www.stopsmokingforsafersurgery.com or contact OMA Media Relations at 416-340-2862 or 1-800-268-7215 x 2862

    
                                 Backgrounder

    Health care dollars saved by smokers stopping before surgery:
    

$889 - Operating cost per day per patient in an acute care hospital in Ontario in 2006/07 (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)

$915 - Estimated operating cost per day per patient in an acute care hospital in Ontario in 2009/10 based on inflation of 2% in 2007/08 and 0.96% in 2008/09 (Bank of Canada)

$1,830 - Estimated amount saved per patient that stops smoking 6-8 weeks prior to surgery and spends two less days recovering in hospital (Moller et al. The Lancet 2002 Jan :114-117)

350,000 - Inpatient surgical cases in 2007/08 (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)

19% - Percentage of cigarette smokers 12 and over in Ontario in 2007/08 (Canadian Community Health Survey)

350,000 x 0.19 = 66,500 - Estimated number of inpatient surgical cases that are smokers

66,500 x $1,830 = $121,695,000 - Potential health care dollars saved

    
                 Stop Smoking for Safer Surgery Action Plan

    As part of the Stop Smoking for Safer Surgery campaign, Ontario's
Anesthesiologists have developed and released an Action Plan to identify
smokers pre-operatively and provide them with the information and tools they
need to stop smoking before surgery.

    The Action Plan includes:

    -   Identifying smokers pre-operatively and encouraging patients not to
        smoke before surgery

    -   Explaining that smoking increases risks during and after surgery

    -   Referring smokers to the excellent, complimentary smoking cessation
        services which are available

    -   Asking patients who are scheduled for surgery when they last smoked

    -   When appropriate, delaying surgery to allow patients to flush out the
        poisons in tobacco smoke

    -   Following up with patients to encourage them to continue not smoking
        after surgery
    

For more information go to http://www.stopsmokingforsafersurgery.com or contact OMA Media Relations at 416-340-2862 or 1-800-268-7215 x 2862

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: For further information: OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862


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