Cigarettes’ aging effect

If threats of cancer or heart disease won’t scare people away from cigarettes, maybe their vanity will.

That’s the hope of a group of researchers who examined 79 pairs of identical twins to determine just how smoking ages a person.

Researchers visited the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, where a panel of three plastic surgery residents compared the faces of twins – one of which had been smoking for at least five years longer than the other, according to a Today article.

The researchers noted a few areas of accelerated aging in the faces of the smoking twins, according to the article:

-Smokers’ upper eyelids drooped

-Smokers’ lower lids sagged

-Smokers had more wrinkles around their mouths

-Smokers were more likely to have jowls (the plump flesh under the lower jaw)

According to the lead author of the study, smoking reduces oxygen to the skin, which also decreases blood circulation. That can result in weathered, wrinkled, older-looking skin, according to the Today article.

Check out the Today article to see photo comparisons of the twins.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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