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Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2010 Mar;54(3):321-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-6576.2009.02140.x. Epub 2009 Oct 26.

Postoperative impact of regular tobacco use, smoking or snuffing, a prospective multi-center study.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Institute for Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Mölndal, Göteborg, Sweden.



The aim was to study the effects of different tobacco administration routes on pain and post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV), following three common day surgical procedures: cosmetic breast augmentation (CBA), inguinal hernia repair (IHR) and arthroscopic procedures (AS). We have prospectively investigated the effects of regular tobacco use in ambulatory surgery.


The 355 allocated patients were followed during recovery and the first day at home.


Thirty-two percent of the patients used tobacco regularly, 33% of CBA, 27% of IHR and 34% of AS. Pain was well controlled in the post-anesthesia care unit at rest; during ambulation, 37% of all patients reported VAS>3. Tobacco use had no impact on early post-operative pain. Post-operative nausea was experienced by 30% of patients during recovery while in hospital. On day 1, 14% experienced nausea. We found a significant reduction of PONV among tobacco users (smoking and/or snuffing). Smoking or snuffing reduced the risk of PONV by nearly 50% in both genders on the day of surgery and at the first day at home. The reduction of PONV was equal, regardless of tobacco administration routes.


We found that regular use of tobacco, both by smoking and snuffing, had a significant effect on PONV during the early post-operative period. Non-tobacco users undergoing breast surgery were found to have the highest risk for PONV. We could not see any influence of nicotine use on post-operative pain. Thus, it seems of value to identify regular tobacco use, not only smoking, as a part of the pre-operative risk assessment.

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