Smokers were 30% more likely to die or suffer complications than nonsmokers after nonemergency colon surgery, a study of over 47,000 patients found. The study, published in the Annals of Surgery, found smokers undergoing surgery for colorectal cancer, diverticular disease or inflammatory bowel disease were more likely than nonsmokers or former smokers to stay in the hospital longer, contract pneumonia or another infection, or require additional surgery. "We know that stopping smoking even as little as six weeks before a procedure can reduce the risk of complications," said researcher Dr. Fergal J. Fleming, who emphasized the importance of talking with patients before elective surgeries, when they have time to quit.

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