Cigarettes Rise to Fame
In the 50s, the public watched movie stars such as James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, Sophia Loren, Marylyn Monroe, and many more on the big movie screens with a cigarette in hand. If you smoked, you were glamorous or cool. Continuing through the 60s the popularity of smoking grew. While tobacco use has declined some since it peaked in the 60s, it is on the rise again. Truth Initiative released a short video “While You Were Streaming: Smoking on Demand.” Popular TV shows such as “Stranger Things” and “Orange Is the New Black” are attracting people to smoking in the same manner as the 50s and 60s.
Here is a concerning statistic released by a CDC report in 2018 called Economic Trends of Tobacco:
Smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion each year, including:
- Nearly $170 billion for direct medical care for adults
- More than $156 billion in lost productivity, including $5.6 billion in lost productivity due to second-hand smoke exposure.
How Smoking Affects Healing
We have all seen or heard ads about how smoking is addictive and causes cancer. But what some do not realize is that smoking and second-hand smoke have other effects on the body. As a rehabilitation center, one of our concerns is how smoking affects and slows the body’s healing process. Let’s look at just how smoking does this.
Increases Healing Time
Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen and nutrients to the injury or surgical site. This slows down healing and may extend the duration of your pain.
Your bones may not heal.
When a broken bone does not heal, it is called a non-union. Non-unions can happen when there is not enough stability, blood flow, or both. As covered above, smokers have problems with blood flow. Smokers may have anywhere from 2-10 times the risk of wound problems and/or non-union after surgery.
Your body has trouble fighting infections.
Smokers have shown to have up to four times the risk of infection after surgery. Chemicals in cigarette smoke limit the activity of infection-fighting cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils are cells that get rid of bacteria that can cause an infection. Without normal neutrophils, an infection could set in that may require antibiotics or even more surgery to cure.
What Can You Do?
To speed up healing and prevent further injuries, the best thing you can do is quit smoking. We know it is easier said than done because of the addictive nature of cigarettes. But you are not alone. There are online sites such as smokefree.gov that give tools and tips on how to quit smoking. Also, we can help you on the road to a healthier life. Chiropractic, vitamin therapy, and better nutrition, can help you quit smoking while also helping you heal faster. We specialize in rejuvenating therapies here at the Carolina Rehab Center.
We wish you the best on your road to healing.
Dr. J. Craig Strickland, DC
Carolina Rehab and Physical Medicine Center
1211 48th Ave N
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577