Using electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) may help patients around the time of surgery reduce the risks for postoperative complications, according to the research team at the Mayo Clinic Department of Anesthesiology.
Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor and quitting or cutting down before or after surgery by using e-cigarettes seems to help mitigate this risk showed the study aimed to determine the feasibility of achieving this goal, regardless of the patients’ intent to attempt long-term abstinence.
Of the 75 patients who participated in the study, 67 (or 87%) tried ENDS during the study period. At 30-day follow-up, 34 (51%) who had used ENDS planned to continue using them. This led to an average cigarette consumption decrease from 15.6 per person per day to 7.6 over the study period. At 30 days, 11 out of 67 (17%) reported abstinence from cigarettes.
“These pilot data suggest that ENDS use is feasible and well-accepted in surgical patients, and worthy of exploration as a harm reduction strategy in these patients. The major finding of this feasibility study was that when cigarette smokers scheduled for elective surgery were offered free ENDS at the time of pre-anesthesia evaluation, a high proportion utilized them in the perioperative period, with an associated reduction in cigarette consumption.”
The study will add weight to the arguments made by some public health professionals that e-cigarettes, while not 100 percent safe, can serve as a critical tool to reduce the harms and hazards associated with regular smoking, particularly after Public Health England’s report concluded e-cigarettes are 95 percent safer than regular cigarettes.