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The Effect of Smoking on Repetitive Strain Injuries

Smoking is a difficult but important issue to address with those who suffer from repetitive strain injuries. As therapists, we do not want to "preach" but to provide information that helps people make decisions regarding their health and injury recovery.

Nicotine can have such an impact on healing, compromising circulation and blood flow that I have known physicians who insisted on a promise of smoking cessation prior to their performing surgery. If the patient did not quit, the doctor advised, there would be no point in performing the surgery because it was bound to fail.

The following describes the effect of nicotine on the body and the impact it has on impeding injury recovery.

Nicotine -

Source: Angela Jullings. Facts About Smoking. Last Packet. 2004. www.last-packet.com/facts_about_smoking.asp

The benefits from quitting smoking begin immediately.

Source: Quit Smoking. The American Lung Association. 2007. www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=33568

The American Lung Association offers these tips on preparing to quit :

Source: Quit Smoking Action Plan. American Lung Association. 2007. www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=117062.asp

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The American Heart Association offers these tips to help smokers quit:

Source: The Effects of Smoking . American Heart Association. 2007. www.americanheart.org

Marji Hajic is an Occupational Therapist and a Certified Hand Therapist practicing in Santa Barbara, California. For more information on hand and upper extremity injuries, prevention and recovery, visit Hand Health Resources.

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