As countries around the world observe World No Tobacco Day this May 31, 2016, it is timely to focus on how smoking ravages a person’s body, particularly its effects on aging.

It is no longer a question whether smoking is dangerous to one’s health but people often are unaware as to the extent of the damage this habit can do.

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Smoking Accelerates Skin Aging

Smoking accelerates a person’s skin aging through the loss of elasticity and collagen. This results to the early or premature appearance of wrinkles and loosening or sagging of the skin.

The skin also develops an orange or grey complexion while the blood vessels constrict, which in turn leads to reduced oxygen supply and vitamin A deficiency.

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The skin is also susceptible to heat damage due to the burning cigarette, NZ Herald reports.

Study on Twins

A study conducted among twins showed that smoking can cause premature wrinkling and other characteristics of accelerated aging.

The study conducted in Ohio involved twins: one twin is a smoker while the other is not, or both are smokers but with a five-year difference when they started.

The study showed close-up photos of each participant’s face to a group of plastic surgeons, who had no knowledge of each participant’s smoking history. They were told to point out “specific components of facial aging”.

Result showed that 57 percent of the time, they were able to spot the smoking twin, Medical Daily reports.

Indicators of aging that the surgeons found included more sagging of the upper eyelids, baggier lower eyelids and bags under the eyes, more facial wrinkles, including lines between the nose and mouth, wrinkling of the upper and lower lips, as well as sagging chin.

Signs of aging were most pronounced on the lower parts of the face, with those whose difference was more than five years showing even more signs, the researchers said.

“Smoking makes you look old. That’s all there is to it,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and who wasn’t involved in the study told Reuters.

Six million die of smoking tobacco each year

Official figures from Global Adult Tobacco Survey show that tobacco use is responsible for nearly six million deaths each year worldwide, 600,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke, DNA India reports.