Re: smokers as patients in hospital
Well, nicotine is out of his system 72 hours after he takes his last puff. As far as physical withdrawals from the chemical dependency (as opposed to the psychological dependency, which, IMO, is MUCH stronger than the chemical addiction), the sweats, the shakes, the shear exhaustion, the nausea, that should be finished three days after he takes his last puff.
My guess is he's in a different setting, a setting focused on health and well-being, and smoking would feel very foreign to anyone there, even for those of us who are (or were) heavy, long-term smokers.
Where the real battle begins, again, IMO, is when you're faced with those situational triggers after the "honeymoon" period of being quit for a week or two. For your dad, it will probably be when he gets home and gets back into his routine. I think one of the hardest parts of quitting -- and staying quit -- is getting through our regular routines of everyday life without smoking. For some, this requires a total change and upheaval of our "routine," whatever that may be, until we're far enough in our quits to be comfortable with reintroducing some of our old lifestyle triggers. For instance, I quit on 5/22. There was no way I could go to an indoor bar that permitted smoking until just a few days ago. Even then, I was very nervous about it. Others give up their morning coffee for a while because they associated it so strongly with smoking.
Your dad's routine has been changed. I doubt he has any situational triggers whatsoever in a hospital (other than boredom maybe. I was a big boredom smoker). Once he returns home, tho, and sits in his "smoking chair," or finishes a meal, he'll have a decision he'll need to make.
I'm not sure if this might help shed some light on the physical addiction (the chemical dependence on the drug itself) vs. the strong psychological addiction.
Lots of cyber wishes coming your dad's way for a speedy and complete recovery.