Patients Who Quit Smoking Before Weight-Loss Surgery Often Relapse: Study

News Picture: Patients Who Quit Smoking Before Weight-Loss Surgery Often Relapse: Study

FRIDAY, Feb. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Many people who quit smoking before having weight-loss surgery go back to cigarettes after the procedure, a new study finds.

Researchers followed 1,770 adults for seven years after they had weight-loss surgery at 10 U.S. hospitals. While about 14% smoked in the year before surgery, that fell to 2% in the month before their operation.

But the smoking rate rose to nearly 10% in the year after surgery and stood at 14% seven years later, according to the study.

"Interestingly, the people who picked up smoking post-surgery weren't just the people who quit smoking in the year prior to surgery, presumably to prepare for the operation. Many had never smoked to begin with," said study co-author Gretchen White, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine.

Forty percent of patients who smoked after surgery had quit more than a year before their weight-loss operation or had never smoked.

The study also found that post-surgery tobacco users smoked more, increasing from an average dozen cigarettes a day in the year before surgery to more than 15 a day seven years later.

The findings suggest that more needs to be done to help weight-loss surgery patients quit smoking, according to the researchers.

"Smoking cessation prior to surgery is strongly recommended to reduce surgical complications," said study lead author Wendy King, a research associate professor of epidemiology at the university's Graduate School of Public Health.

"But there isn't the same emphasis on maintaining cessation after surgery," she said in a university news release. "Our findings show that there is a need for ongoing support in order to reduce and quickly respond to relapses."

Along with a prior history of smoking, other risk factors for smoking after weight-loss surgery included younger age, poverty, being married or living as married, and drug use.

The researchers said they were surprised to find that weight control wasn't a major reason patients gave for smoking. Rates of smoking for weight control were about 2% before and after surgery.

The findings were published Feb. 21 in the journal Annals of Surgery.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh, news release, Feb. 21, 2020
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