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What are the effects of smoking on wound healing?

Wound healing is complex and there are many factors that can interfere with the normal healing process, which can result in an acute wound becoming a chronic, non-healing one. Cigarette smoking is frequently listed as one of the factors which can interfere with wound healing. However, it is one of the potentially modifiable lifestyle behaviours that can reduce the risk of developing a nonhealing wound (Ellis, 2018). Although the precise mechanisms as to how smoking delays healing are currently not clear (Sorensen et al, 2010a, b; Sorensen, 2012), this paper explores the literature on how smoking interferes with the wound healing process at a pathophysiological level, together with how it may be responsible for increased infection rates and delayed healing. In addition, it also discusses how smoking can contribute to infection and wound dehiscence in surgical wounds and delay healing in chronic wounds, resulting in a prolonged recovery time for the patient.