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Can Smoking Affect Wound Healing?

Can Smoking Affect Wound Healing

We all know how dangerous smoking can be to a person’s health but did you know that it has a negative effect on the wound healing process?

Yes, tobacco contains chemicals that can slow down the wound healing process. Below we discuss the chemicals in tobacco and its effect on the wound healing process.


Nicotine is considered to be a vasoconstrictor which means it has the ability to reduce blood flow to tissues that need healing. Malnutrition means poor healing.

This can lead to ischemia leading to dead tissue while reducing the body’s ability to produce new blood cells which are necessary for proper wound healing.

Hydrogen Cyanide:

Hydrogen cyanide can also affect wound healing because it inhibits the enzymes needed to carry oxygen to the cells and carries them between the blood and healthy cells thereby hindering the wound healing process.

Carbon Monoxide:

Carbon Monoxide is another factor to consider because it keeps the oxygen supply to the wound and prevents it from happening, something cells need in order to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to heal our wounds.

In addition to these chemicals, smoking also causes a person to eat less healthy, do less physical activity, and drink more alcohol, all of which can have negative effects on the wound healing process.

It should be noted that the body needs a large amount of energy and calories to heal wounds. Since nicotine is a proven nutritional factor, smokers are more likely to consume fewer calories than they are accustomed to, which can lead to ulcerative colitis and degeneration.

Smoking restricts blood flow:

Another factor to consider is that smoking causes blood to clot or coagulate, which means that it can not easily flow into our bloodstream and, remember, causes temporary vasoconstriction as well.

If this happened, the parts of the body that needed blood flow would not get enough of the body’s oxygen supply, and it would be very difficult for the wounds to heal.

Smoking makes it harder for the body to fight infections:

Smoking has also been shown to make disease more difficult, especially after surgery. The chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to limit the activity of anti-infective cells known as neutrophils. Smoking prevents the immune system from working properly.

Neutrophils are important for good health because they help eliminate germs before they start causing damage inside the body.

Without neutrophils, infections can easily spread and may even require antibiotics.

Final Thoughts

With all its side effects, it is clear that the best (and fastest) way to heal wounds is to prevent or stop smoking altogether. By stopping, you keep your body clean of chemicals that can prevent the wound healing process.

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