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Cosmetic surgery may result in an unexpected health benefit: it can help patients to stop smoking.

That is according to a new study, which discovered that a quarter (25%) of patients quit altogether after being advised to drop cigarettes for at least two weeks before undergoing any surgical procedure.

Nicotine, contained in cigarettes, restricts the blood flow and can prevent skin from healing properly post-surgery.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, found that five years after a cosmetic surgery procedure, a further 40% of patients no longer smoked on a daily basis. 70% agreed that their surgery had influenced their ability to reduce or quit smoking.

Dr Aaron C. Van Slyke, lead author of the study, said, “The dialogue between plastic surgeon and patient during the cosmetic surgery consultation serves as a unique moment to provide targeted smoking cessation counselling that may persist well beyond the surgical interaction.”

85 smokers were initially evaluated for the study, and five years later 42 responded to a follow-up survey.

Of those patients, two had suffered from very severe complications post-surgery – both had continued smoking up until the day of their operation.

Michael Saul, from Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, said, “Smoking can have serious consequences for a patient’s post-surgery recovery, and so we are very interested to see if these results will be borne out when used across a larger sample study.”