The Scoop On Smoking from ACSH: what every teen should know about tobacco
slow healing of broken bones
You probably know people who have broken an arm or a leg. Perhaps you have had a broken bone yourself. Broken bones are a relatively common type of injury among young people. Fortunately, though, most broken bones in young people heal quickly and well.
If you smoke, however, your bones will not heal so well. It takes much longer for broken bones to heal in smokers than in nonsmokers. For example, in one group of people who had broken their legs, complete healing took an average of 269 days in smokers, as compared to 136 days in nonsmokers. (1)
Because smokers' bones don't heal well, smokers are much more likely than nonsmokers to need special medical procedures such as bone grafting to help heal their broken bones.
Smoking interferes with the healing of broken bones because it decreases the body's ability to manufacture new bone tissue -- a process that is essential for healing. Several different substances in cigarette smoke, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide, all interfere with the bone healing process.
The American Council on Science and Health is a consumer eduction consortium with a board of 350 physicians, scientists, and policy advisors.