Smoking - Touro Infirmary
Wound Care

Smoking & Wound Healing in New Orleans

Quitting smoking can help your wounds heal

Smoking has a profound negative impact on many different parts of the body and your overall health and well-being. Smoking increases your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar level, and your chances of developing a blood clot that could cause a stroke, heart attack, or tissue damage. These increases mean that your body has to work harder to maintain stability and wellness. When your body is working overtime, your wounds are unable to heal properly or in a timely fashion. smoking and wound healing flyer

Every component of a cigarette and its smoke has a different effect on your body’s ability to heal wounds:

  • Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen available in your body to heal tissues.
  • Nicotine narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow. That means that your body is unable to properly heal itself due to a lack of energy and oxygen.
  • Tar coats the lining of your lungs. When your lungs are coated with tar, oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange is diminished. As a result, your blood has a lower oxygen concentration, which slows wound healing processes.

How to quit smoking

There are a lot of different things that can help a smoker quit but there is not one correct way to do so. Stop smoking aids, such as Zyban, Wellbutrin, nicotine patches, and Nicorette gum can help, as can attendance at regular support groups. Support from friends and family is also a good source of encouragement.

If you decide to stop smoking, the following tips can help:

  • Avoid acidic foods, which allow nicotine to leave the body faster and may increase your urge to smoke.
  • Snack on low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • Chew gum.
  • Brush your teeth or drink mint tea after meals to avoid the urge to smoke.
  • Exercise frequently.
  • Brainstorm alternatives to smoking before you get the urge to smoke.
  • Relax and remember that your urge will eventually pass.

Speak to your healthcare provide for additional tips and resources to help you quit smoking.