Treatment for tobacco use is efficacious and beneficial to health. Although guidelines recommend that all patients who use tobacco are offered treatment as a part of their clinical care, implementing treatment has proven challenging. In the case of surgical patients, this lack of treatment is particularly unfortunate, as the benefits of abstinence from tobacco are immediate in terms of reducing the risk of surgical complications, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and wound related complications. Surgery also presents an opportunity for patients to quit for good and reduce the long term health risk. This review examines the principles of tobacco use treatment, the rationale for tobacco use treatment in the perioperative period, and how treatment can be incorporated into the routine care of surgical patients. The discipline of implementation science helps to frame these efforts by seeking to better understand how changes in clinical practice occur, and it has the potential to guide an evidence based approach to embedding tobacco treatment into the routine clinical care of surgical patients. This review uses the consolidated framework for implementation research, which includes five major domains, as a representative conceptual framework. A basic understanding of factors potentially important to successful implementation can help to guide clinicians who accept the challenge of implementing tobacco use treatment in surgical care.
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