Smokers may defy the health warnings by telling themselves their habit makes them look cool. After all, sex symbols James Dean and Humphrey Bogart were rarely seen without a cigarette. However, the latest evidence shows that smoking actually makes you less attractive to the opposite sex. Telltale wrinkles from puffing on a cigarette may be to blame for people judging non-smokers to be better-looking.
This was the result of a study asking more than 500 people to pick the most attractive of twins where one smoked and the other did not. Men found female non-smokers the most attractive in two-thirds of cases, while women chose non-smoking men as the most attractive 68 percent of the time.
Professor Ian Penton-Voak, a co-author of the study from Bristol University, said: ‘People hypothesise that smoking causes damage to the skin and appearance, but this is a really neat way at looking at it because these twins are genetically identical so we can control for genetic factors involved in ageing. Appearance seems to be important to people, especially young people, so we could use these sorts of findings as a basis for future interventions to stop people smoking.’
Smoking can speed up the normal ageing, even after only a decade. Nicotine causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin, while the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin, fibres which give the skin its elasticity.
The wrinkles this causes are added to by facial expressions made when smoking -- such as pursing the lips when inhaling or squinting to keep smoke out of your eyes.
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