Twin study 'proves' smoking causes premature aging
Medical professionals have long said that smoking may speed up the aging process. Now, new research has provided further evidence of this. A study has revealed that twins who smoke show more signs of premature facial aging compared with their identical twins who are non-smokers or smoked at least 5 years less.
Researchers from the Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, say their findings may also give insight into the cellular-level mechanisms by which smoking may lead to premature aging.
To reach their findings, published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the researchers recruited 79 pairs of identical twins who attended the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. Of these pairs, 57 were women and the average age for all pairs was 48.
One twin within each pair smoked, while the other had smoked for at least 5 years less, or did not smoke at all. The average difference in smoking history between the twins who both smoked was 13 years.
All twins were required to have professional photographs taken in close-up of their face, as well as complete questionnaires regarding their medical history and lifestyle.
In order to determine specific areas of facial aging that may be affected by smoking, judges who are specialized in monitoring the signs of aging analyzed the twins' facial features from the photographs without knowing details of their smoking history.
During this process, they analyzed the gradients of the twins' wrinkles and other facial features that may be affected by aging, including the presence of bags under the eyes and lower eyelid skin discoloration.