A Child's Surgery May Prompt Parents to Try to Quit Smoking

THURSDAY June 30, 2011 -- Parents who smoke are more likely to try to kick the habit if their child is having surgery, but their chances of success aren't any better than normal, a new study reveals.

The findings suggest that doctors could play an important role in helping these parents quit smoking, said the researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The study included 1,112 children who lived with at least one person who smoked in the home. When either a child or parent had surgery, there was an increased likelihood that the parent would try to quit smoking. But the attempts were more likely to succeed only if it was the parent who was having surgery.

The study is published in the July issue of the journal Anesthesiology.

About one in seven U.S. children who undergo surgery are chronically exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, according to the researchers.

Prior studies have found that exposure to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of respiratory complications associated with anesthesia. In adults, smoking after surgery has been shown to increase the risks of lung and cardiac complications and infections to the wound.

"Our current findings suggest that having a child undergo surgery can serve as a teachable moment for quit attempts," study author Dr. David O. Warner said in a news release from the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

"The scheduling of children for surgery may present us with an opportunity to provide tobacco interventions to parents, who are apparently more motivated to at least try to quit -- but who need assistance to succeed."

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

Posted: June 2011


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