UK to Patients Who Smoke: Put That Out
National Health Service imposes four-week window before surgery
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2007 3:49 PM CDT
'   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Smokers in Britain must kick the habit for at least four weeks before undergoing routine surgery or the National Health Service will deny them the operations, the Daily Mail reports. Doctors will use blood tests to enforce the new policy, which could affect up to 500,000 smokers awaiting procedures for non-life-threatening conditions each year.

Research indicates smokers take longer to recover and suffer more heart and lung complications than nonsmokers. Leicester's city health trust will be the first local board to introduce the new policy, known as "quit or wait." It does not bar smokers from receiving treatment, but those who refuse to quit may have to wait longer for treatment.