A smoker for 25 years, I'm having a hard time quitting before my lumbar fusion surgery in six weeks. Are the benefits worth the effort it is taking me to stop smoking?

Absolutely. In the past, health professionals encouraged smokers to quit before fusion surgeries because it seemed like a good idea. Recent scientific information says the benefits are worth the effort.

Smokers are more successful at quitting if they stop smoking before their surgery. And they have a better chance of staying smoke-free long after surgery. Heavy smokers (more than one pack per day) generally have a harder time quitting. Quitters show better results after surgery. They have more success getting back to work. They have fewer instances of the bones not fusing together ("nonunion"), and they're generally more satisfied with their results than people who don't quit. 

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