Smoking makes you ugly: Survey found those who smoke are less attractive to the opposite sex
08/28/2018 // Ralph Flores // Views

Among the many possible diseases and ills that are brought about by smoking, here's one reason that you should be taking at face value: Researchers from the University of Bristol have stated that smokers are perceived as "less attractive" by the opposite sex.

This was the result of a study of 500 participants who were presented with the faces of 23 sets of identical twins, including a male and female prototype.

The results indicated that men found female non-smokers to be attractive in two-thirds of the cases. Women responded similarly: they found non-smoking males to be more attractive 68 percent of the time.

"People hypothesize 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 aging," said professor Ian Penton-Voak, a co-author of the study.

Studies have indicated that smoking can hasten the normal aging process of a person. This is because nicotine can cause a constriction of the blood vessels in the outermost skin layer, while chemicals in tobacco smoke damage fibers that provide it with elasticity. (Related: Smoking causes up to 40% of cancer deaths in the US... so why are cigarettes still sold by pharmacies?)

The researchers conducted a survey of over 500 people to test this theory. Participants were then asked to choose who the smoker and the non-smoker was from 23 sets of twins. The team then created prototype pictures to ensure the twins' facial expressions of poses did not tamper with the results.


The study's primary aims were to identify whether a person is a smoker based solely on their facial features and whether smoking has any effect on a person's attractiveness. This is because while smoking accelerates the aging process, there are also internal factors that govern the rate of aging of a person -- some of the factors that can affect it include age, sex, and environment.

Therefore, by using the faces of identical twins, the study was able to provide the researchers with both a control group and the experimental group for the participants. In addition to this, identical twins have very similar genetic material, as well as some aspects of their environment (such as cultural background, parenting, and education).

The images, which were standardized by a computer to determine how the smokers and non-smokers looked, were used to survey what people found to be "more attractive."

The results showed that both men and women found the opposite sex who did not smoke to be more attractive. Additionally, women also identified other females who did not smoke as more beautiful in 70 percent of cases, and men pointed out that men who did not smoke were more attractive in 72 percent of the cases.

"Young people are particularly sensitive to the potential negative effects smoking has on their attractiveness as they age," researchers wrote. “The findings, particularly those for the prototypes that represent the characteristic facial features of smokers and non-smokers, have the potential to be of utility in developing and improving smoking behavior change interventions."

Overall, the results of the study clearly indicate the smoking may have adverse effects on a person's facial appearance. This information may prove to be beneficial in determining the smoking status of a person. According to researchers, future applications of the study can include anywhere from developing intervention patterns to determining additional factors that could affect the appearance of twins.

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