Can You Have Nicotine Pouches Before Surgery?
Erik Rosengren - Snusexpert
19 February, 2024
6 Min

Can You Have Nicotine Pouches Before Surgery?

No, you should not have nicotine pouches before surgery. Nicotine pouches are known to elevate your heart rate and narrow your blood vessels. Using a nicotine pouch before surgery could negatively affect anesthesia, healing, or lead to complications in your surgery. 

Ideally, you should stop using nicotine at least a month before surgery. This helps you reset your dopamine levels and flush the nicotine out of your system. We'll look at the science behind this in detail below.

Why Avoid Nicotine Pouches Before Surgery?

Nicotine is an addictive chemical that affects your body in various ways. The first effect of nicotine is narrowed blood vessels. This reduces the blood to vital organs like the eyes, heart, and bones around your body. 

Patients who smoke are more likely to experience post-surgery complications, because of narrowed blood vessels. The decrease in blood flow also hinders the post-surgery healing process, especially in routines that affect the bones or vital organs. 

While research on nicotine pouches is limited, and they are much safer than cigarettes, we would still advise against using them before or immediately after a surgery. 

Effects Of Nicotine On Different Surgeries

Nicotine can cause various complications based on the type of surgery and procedure. Let's look at the main problems for each type of surgery:

Plastic Or Cosmetic Surgeries

Plastic surgery is the reconstruction or alteration of parts of the body through tissue transfer, for example a knee surgery. Nicotine significantly affects your blood flow and active hemoglobin levels. It makes recovery after a surgery increasingly slow and could even lead to post-surgery problems.

Heart Or Other Vital Organ Surgeries

Nicotine, especially from smoking, can severely limit the oxygen levels in your body. Your lungs and heart are at the highest risk because both require a substantial amount of oxygen to function. Due to nicotine, you could experience bronchospasm or have a very slow healing rate, especially if you've had heart surgery. 

Dental Surgeries

There is no major correlation between gum damage and nicotine pouches. The effects of nicotine on a dental surgery are minimal, however, it could still affect the anesthesia procedure. You could experience elevated blood pressure or other issues, which is why we would advise against their use close to surgery.

Nicotine products and it's impacts before surgery

Impact Of Other Nicotine Products On Surgery

The effects of nicotine pouches on surgery pale in comparison to the effects of other nicotine products. Let's look at some of these and understand the risks associated with each product:

Effects Of Cigarettes On Surgery

Cigarettes are by far the most pernicious products for surgeries. Cigarette smoke can irritate your bronchi, decrease your blood flow, kill gut microbes, and increase phlegm. During a major surgery, this could spell disaster for long time smokers.

Apart from this, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke binds to hemoglobin. Smokers carry about 3 to 15% of dead hemoglobin because of increased carbon monoxide levels. It leads to a reduced blood flow and oxygen level, which means your body can't get the oxygen it needs during the surgical procedure.

Long-term smokers are also more likely to develop blood clots. Smokers also have a increased risk of developing post-surgery pneumonia because of this. The only upside is that smokers wake up more quickly after anesthesia because their livers are used to detoxifying their bodies. 

Effects Of Snus On Surgery

Snus is a tobacco product that you put under your lip. Unlike cigarettes and vapes, Snus does not produce smoke. However, it still contains tobacco and other toxins that can negatively affect your health before you undergo surgery. 

For starters, snus or chewing tobacco can cause dry mouth and thickened saliva, which makes dental procedures and recovery much harder. Apart from this, the narrowed blood vessels can cause complications in oxygen saturation levels. 

Effects Of Vapes and JUULs On Surgery

Research published in the NCBI states that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDs) do not improve the odds of surgery compared to cigarettes. E-cigarettes, vapes, and JUULs contain nicotine and oily substances like propylene glycol, THC, vitamin E, or glycerin.

These oily substances accumulate inside your body, promoting the creation of phlegm. The irritated bronchi could lead to unnecessary problems, like chronically inflamed lungs.

Your lungs are constantly trying to reduce the oily stuff in vape smoke, which creates a mucus secretion. Due to the excess mucus, passing tubes into your body becomes much more problematic. In the worst-case scenario, it could even cause complications that might require emergency measures. 

When Should You Stop Using Nicotine Before Surgery?

In the best-case scenario, you should stop using nicotine at least 2 weeks before major surgeries. If that isn't possible, then you should try for at least 4 to 7 days. You can use nicotine gum and lozenges 24 hours before surgery. 

For smokers, you should quit smoking a month before the surgery. Read our guide on how to stop smoking, if you need some pointers. The same applies to vaping and other tobacco-based products. 

Once the surgery day starts, nothing should go inside your body apart from what the doctor or surgeon prescribes. You should eat healthy, get good sleep, and try to keep your body as healthy as possible to avoid complications. Once a major surgery is done, wait at least 4 to 10 days before going back to nicotine. 

3 Things Nicotine Users Need To Do Before A Surgery

3 Things Nicotine Users Need To Do Before A Surgery

Here are the three most important things that you need to do before going to a surgery:

  • Stop Smoking and Ingesting Nicotine: Ideally, you should stop taking nicotine at least 3 to 4 weeks before the surgery. If you have a strong addiction, try to use nicotine gum or lozenges.
  • Tell Your Doctor About Your Nicotine: Be upfront with your doctor about your cigarette, vape, or any other nicotine product usage. It will help your doctor make the right choices regarding your surgery.
  • Eat Healthy and Stay Happy: Eat healthy to keep your body active, and stay happy to keep your mind fresh. Having the appropriate mindset is the first step to a speedy recovery. Remember that your surgery is a stepping stone to your better health, and you'll come out the other end much better and happier. 

Conclusion: Can You Take Nicotine Pouches Before Surgery?

You should not take nicotine pouches or any other form of nicotine before surgery. In the best-case scenario, you should quit using nicotine a few weeks before the surgery. If that isn't possible, then at least give your body 4 to 7 days to flush out the nicotine before the surgery. 

Cigarettes and tobacco are by far the most harmful forms of nicotine. These can slow down the healing process and lead to complications during the surgery. Quit these before the surgery, to improve your odds of making a speedy recovery. 

Finally, please follow the schedule laid down by your doctor or plastic surgeon. Following the right advice can save you from a lot of extra trouble and medical bills. Listen to your body's needs and eat healthy, to give yourself a better foothold and fighting chance.