Peri-operative smoking history is an important risk factor, which is often under-appreciated by surgeons. In the first place, tobacco use predisposes patients to specific pathologies, which may require surgical intervention. Secondarily, smoking has been shown to increase surgical risks of mortality, morbidity and length of hospital stay. Of particular importance in general surgery is the increased risk of anastomotic leak with fistula formation, of deep infections, and of abdominal wall complications (infection and ventral hernia). If the patient can stop smoking prior to surgery, there is a concomitant decrease in post-operative complications. Surgeons should be familiar with the pharmacologic and behavioral interventions, which may help the patient with smoking cessation and should not hesitate to defer elective surgery for four to eight weeks so that the patient may have the full benefit of smoking cessation.