If You Smoke, Your Future’s Not Pretty

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Now that we’re in the 21st century, we all know smoking is bad for your health and gives you cancer – in fact, it’s considered the single biggest preventable cause of death and disease. But because that doesn’t happen until we’re older, and we humans tend to ignore long-term risks (I know I certainly do!), so it’s easy to convince ourselves that we can smoke one more and it won’t make a difference.

Well, unfortunately – it does have an impact!

Along with the well-publicised long-term health effects (being unfit, lung cancer, heart disease, yellow teeth, bad breath), one of the biggest effects is on your appearance. And scarily, that occurs pretty early, so you could look a few decades(!) older by the time you’re in your 30s. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful chemicals which hit a whole heap of ageing mechanisms in your body:

  • Tobacco smoke speeds up the production of an enzyme which destroys collagen in your skin, the scaffold that holds your cells up and keeps skin firm and elastic. This translates to wrinkles and saggy skin.
  • Smoking also degrades elastin fibres in your skin which leads to additional sagging – eye bags, saggy boobs, lower lip lines.
  • Vitamin A is also reduced by smoking – vitamin A has lots of great effects on skin.
  • As well as making your teeth yellow, smoking encourages plaque and damages the gums, and makes your nails more prone to breaking.

If all this information isn’t enough to convince you, Queensland Health are holding “make-under” sessions around Queensland this week. Make-up artists use their skills and a generous amount of latex to transform your face into a mock-up of how you might end up looking if you have a smoking habit. The results are shocking! Here’s mine:


I was really shocked with the transformation! There’s no way to accurately predict the exact effects of smoking on each individual, but this is a great wake-up call. I’m not a smoker, but after this transformation… I’m never smoking!

The next two make-under locations are Thursday October 23rd on the Sunshine Coast (Sunshine Plaza Maroochydoore) and Saturday October 25th in Brisbane (Westfield Garden City). The booths will be happening from 10 am – 4 pm. (They’ll fix you up with a makeover afterwards so you don’t have to walk around looking haggard.)

If you can’t get to a booth, you can visit the campaign’s virtual booth online (from anywhere in the world!), upload a pic and see what you look like after 10 or 20 years of a smoking habit

If you’re a smoker and you’d like to quit, the good news is that all of these problems will improve from the moment you quit, and there are heaps of sources out there to help! Queensland Health has a great page full of information on quitting, a confidential, free telephone hotline, Quitline, which is manned by trained anti-smoking counsellors, and an app, QuitTracker, to help you keep track of your progress. Plus, think of all the money you’ll save!

If you’re a Queenslander in Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast, check out the make-under booths this week (Thursday October 23rd at Sunshine Plaza Maroochydoore and Saturday October 25th at Westfield Garden City).

This post was sponsored by Queenland Health. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

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4 thoughts on “If You Smoke, Your Future’s Not Pretty”

  1. It was terribly silly of whoever designed the “make under” thing to have you wear makeup in the first picture. It makes you look more attractive than you would look without makeup, thereby making the second photo look more unattractive by contrast.

    It’s the poor design of the simulation that bothers me- it reminds me of how in plastic surgery advertisements the ‘before’ photo will have the patient wearing no makeup and not smiling, and the ‘after’ photo (no matter what procedure they underwent) will have them smiling, typically with well-applied makeup on if they are female.

    It sucks to see this strategy used to mislead the consumer, even when the marketer’s intentions are to help them.

    Reply
  2. What skincare products (or lifestyle changes, in addition to not smoking) would you recommend to a young person who wants to prevent skin sagging? There’s a lot of information on preventing wrinkles (like to use sunscreen, Retin-A, chemical exfoliants, etc.), but I don’t see a lot specifically on sagging.

    Also, what genetic factors make a person’s skin more resistant to sagginess? Having more melanin and collagen?

    Reply

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