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How much older will I look, if I smoke?


Updated July 10, 2013

Question: How much older will I look, if I smoke?

Numerous studies have established that tobacco prematurely ages skin, causing wrinkles and other changes in texture normally associated with skin aging. A study published in the early 1970s in the Annals of Internal Medicine was one of the first to document the link between smoking and wrinkles, noting “striking” difference between smokers and non-smokers as early as the age of 30, in both men and women.


In the years since, a number of researchers have concluded that depending on how much you smoke, and the length of your habit, you can expect to look between 10 and 20 years older than your chronological age. The subjective measure is based on comparisons with non-smokers of the same age.

For example, a study published in 1995 in the American Journal of Public Health found that even after adjusting for age, body mass or BMI, and average sun exposure (which causes photoaging and premature wrinkles), men who smoked were twice as likely to have moderate or severe facial wrinkling compared with never-smokers. Women smokers had three times the risk of moderate or severe wrinkling, compared with those who’d never smoked. The risk of premature wrinkling increased with the number of cigarettes smoked.

If you're ready to quit smoking, find advice from About.com's Guide to Smoking Cessation, here.


Daniell HW. “Smoker’s Wrinkles: A Study in the Epidemiology of ‘Crow’s Feet’.” Ann Intern Med. 1 December 1971;75(6):873-880.

Ernster VL, Grady D, Miike R, et al. "Facial wrinkling in men and women, by smoking status." Am J Public Health 1995; 85:78-82.

Morita A. “Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging.” J Dermatol Sci. 2007 Dec;48(3):169-75.

Smoker’s Face: Beauty is Only Skin Deep. National Archives of the UK Department of Health Public Information Sheet.

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