About 46 million Americans still smoke tobacco, according to the American Cancer Society, even though smoking is the leading cause of emphysema and lung cancer, and a primary cause of cancers of the throat, mouth and esophagus.
But if chronic breathing difficulties and cancer aren’t scary enough, know that smoking also can damage your looks.
Wrinkles: A 40-year-old smoker may have the same number of facial wrinkles as a 60-year-old. Smoke from cigarettes can stick to the skin, yellowing it and creating a lasting odor. Chemicals in smoke can suck moisture and vitamins out of skin, making it dry and brittle.
Stretch marks: Smoking hampers blood supply, depriving the skin of oxygen and nutrients, which can damage skin fibers and connective tissue and may cause stretch marks.
Skin cancer: Smokers are three times as likely to develop squamous-cell carcinoma, a common skin cancer, as are non-smokers.
Hair loss: Toxic chemicals in cigarettes can increase hair loss and early graying because of damage to the hair follicles. Men are at greater risk of hair loss than women, because of aging and genetics.
Bags under eyes: Nightly nicotine withdrawal can disrupt sleep patterns, causing bags or dark circles under the eyes.
Cataracts: Cigarette smoke irritates the eyes and reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the lenses, and that may lead to cataracts.
Teeth stains: Nicotine can stick to your teeth and turn them yellow, brown or black.
Tooth loss: Smokers are more likely to develop deep pockets between the teeth and gums, plaque build-up called calculus and loss of the bone and other tissues that support the teeth. Bacteria and lack of oxygen to the gum tissue can cause tooth loss when untreated.
Loss of taste: Smoking can damage taste buds, preventing you from tasting and enjoying food and drink.
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