Few Obese Smokers Quit Habit After Bariatric Surgery, Leading To Increased Heart Disease Risk

Few Obese Smokers Quit Habit After Bariatric Surgery, Leading To Increased Heart Disease Risk

A recent study entitled “Smoking Habit in Severe Obese after bariatric procedures” published in the journal Tobacco Induced Diseases studied the smoking habits of severely obese individuals following different types of bariatric surgery.  Patients who underwent bariatric procedures and who also smoked were found to run the risk of having two risk factors for heart disease — both being overweight and smoking cigarettes. Ideally, these individuals should address both risk factors at about the same time in order to reduce their overall risk for heart disease complications.

The research study looked at 73 patients who underwent intragastric balloon therapy, Lap-Band procedures or surgical procedures such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy procedures. Smokers were identified and enrolled in the study.  Each was asked to stop smoking but did not receive any smoking cessation procedures.

The researchers found that few of the post-bariatric procedure patients stopped smoking after having the weight loss procedure. The sharpest decline in smoking was found among intragastric balloon therapy patients at 3 months post-procedure, who quit smoking at a rate of 36 percent compared to Lap-Band procedure patients, who quit at a rate of 6 percent and those who had surgical procedures, who quit at a rate of 5 percent at three months post surgery.

Researchers found that patients who had intragastric balloon therapy quit smoking at a greater rate than others because of the nausea and vomiting experienced after the operation — a finding that does not occur in other types of bariatric surgery patients.

The intragastric band patients soon returned to smoking and had only slightly lesser risk of smoking cessation at 6 months post-procedure and 12 months post-procedure when compared to patients who underwent the Lap-Band procedure or those who underwent surgical interventions for their obesity. At the end of the 12 month study, less than ten percent of all participants quit smoking following their weight loss attempts. All did lose weight, however, at about the same rate.


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Researchers noted that part of improving one’s health when suffering from morbid obesity and smoking problems is to reduce the overall risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.  When surgeons and bariatric professionals help patients lose weight, they are only partially managing their risk for these diseases.  Simply telling these clients to quit smoking at the time of their bariatric surgery is not enough and more needs to be done to encourage these individuals to quit smoking and further reduce their risk of disease.

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