The health risks of smoking tobacco are well-documented. Lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis are all terrible diseases that have been linked to smoking. What many people may not realize, however, is how smoking tobacco can affect not only your insides, but also your outward appearance.
Researchers from the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University studied identical twins to observe the effects smoking has on facial features. In this photo, the woman on the left has been smoking for 17 years longer than her twin on the right.
The researchers recruited 79 pairs of identical twins for their study. In every set of twins, either only one twin was a smoker, or one twin had smoked for at least five years longer than the other. The results of the study were published in an issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a medical journal for plastic surgeons.
In this picture, the twin on the right is a smoker, while the twin on the left is a nonsmoker. The most noticeable difference can be seen in the creases between the smoking twin's nose and mouth.
Both twins in this series of photos are smokers, but the brother on the right smoked for 14 years longer than the one on the left. The researchers behind the study concluded that a difference of even five years of smoking can "cause visibly identifiable changes in facial aging."
The researchers acknowledge that a number of other factors may play a part in the twins' appearance. For instance, someone who works a high-stress job or who doesn't wear sunscreen regularly, may have signs of aging regardless of whether he or she smokes.
In this set of twins, the woman on the left is a nonsmoker, while her identical sister on the right is a smoker.
In addition, subtle differences in facial expression may exaggerate certain details in a person's face. For instance, a picture of a person smiling widely may cause their laugh lines to appear deeper than they would in a picture of them with a straight face.
Here, Twin A is a nonsmoker, while Twin B is a smoker.
In this picture, the twin on the left is a smoker, while the twin on the right does not smoke.
Overall, the researchers of the study concluded that smoking does in fact have a measurable impact on the way someone's face ages. The smoking twins generally had looser upper eyelid skin, bags under their eyes and more wrinkles around their lips.