Everyone knows that tobacco use can have disastrous consequences on your health. More than 4,000 chemical substances are present in cigarette smoke, including at least 50 that can cause cancer. An estimated 85% of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and of lung cancer are caused by smoking. About a third of all cancer cases are due to smoking.
But did you know that smoking delays healing and even affects grip strength? Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor (narrows the blood vessels) which reduces the blood flow and oxygen delivery to the injured area. This is detrimental to healing. Research has shown that:
- Overall risk of fracture non-union (when the bone doesn’t heal) is 12% higher in smokers.
- For all fractures, the mean healing time was longer for smokers (30.2 weeks) than for non-smokers (24.1 weeks).
- The surface infection rate was 7% in smokers compared with 4% in non-smokers.
- The deep infection rate was 7% in smokers compared with 2% in non-smokers.
- Smokers demonstrated reduced grip strength and fast fatigability in comparison with non-smokers.
- The number of repetitions (of grip) to induce fatigue was significantly lower in smokers compared with non-smokers (23.5 versus 40 repetitions).
It is never too late to stop smoking.