Why No Smoking Before Pet Scan

Why No Smoking Before PET Scan

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a medical imaging technique that uses a radioactive substance to produce detailed images of the body’s organs and tissues. It is commonly used to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, including cancer and heart disease. However, before undergoing a PET scan, patients are advised to refrain from smoking. Here’s why:

1. Interference with the radioactive substance: During a PET scan, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the patient’s body. Smoking before the scan can interfere with the uptake and distribution of this substance, leading to inaccurate results.

2. Increased risk of false positives: Smoking can cause inflammation and other changes in the body, which may be misinterpreted as abnormal findings during a PET scan. This can result in false positive results, leading to unnecessary additional tests and anxiety for the patient.

3. Decreased image quality: Smoking causes increased blood flow and metabolism in the lungs, which can lead to decreased image quality and make it difficult to interpret the scan accurately.

4. Longer scan time: Smoking before a PET scan can prolong the time required for the procedure. This is because the effects of smoking on blood flow and metabolism need time to subside, which may delay the scan and inconvenience both the patient and the medical staff.

5. Compromised lung function: Smoking can impair lung function, making it more challenging for the patient to hold their breath during the scan. This can affect the quality of the images obtained, potentially hindering the diagnostic process.

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6. Health risks: Smoking poses numerous health risks, and it is generally advisable to quit smoking for overall well-being. A PET scan provides an opportunity to reinforce this message and encourage patients to consider the detrimental effects of smoking on their health.

7. Safety concerns: Smoking before a PET scan may increase the risk of fire hazards due to the presence of flammable substances in tobacco smoke. To ensure the safety of both the patient and the medical staff, it is essential to refrain from smoking before the procedure.


1. Can I smoke after a PET scan?
Yes, you can resume smoking after the scan. However, quitting smoking is always recommended for optimal health.

2. How long before a PET scan should I stop smoking?
It is generally advised to avoid smoking for at least 24 hours before a PET scan.

3. What if I accidentally smoked before the scan?
Inform your healthcare provider about the situation. They may reschedule the scan to ensure accurate results.

4. Can smoking affect other medical imaging tests?
Smoking can also interfere with other imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRI scans. It is best to inform your healthcare provider if you are a smoker before any imaging procedure.

5. How does smoking affect PET scan results?
Smoking can cause changes in blood flow and metabolism, leading to inaccurate interpretations of the scan.

6. Is vaping allowed before a PET scan?
No, vaping is also advised against before a PET scan due to similar reasons as smoking.

7. How long does it take for smoking effects to subside before a PET scan?
The effects of smoking on blood flow and metabolism can take several hours to subside. It is recommended to refrain from smoking for at least 24 hours before the scan for accurate results.

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