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The Smoking Quiz: Which Twin Looks Older?

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Which twin is the heavy smoker?

Which twin is the heavy smoker?

We know that smoking is bad for you, and that it ages you prematurely. Now, a new study provides photographic evidence for this claim.

Scientists gathered health and lifestyle information on 79 pairs of identical adult twins who fit into one of three groups: a pair in which one was a smoker and the other had never smoked; a pair in which both were smokers; or a pair in which both were smokers but with at least a five-year difference in the duration of their smoking habit. The researchers photographed them and had independent judges rate the pictures side-by-side for wrinkles, crow’s feet, jowls, bags under the eyes, creases around the nose, lines around the lips and other evidence of aging skin.

The differences in some other factors that can age skin prematurely — alcohol consumption, sunscreen use and perceived stress at work — were statistically insignificant between twin pairs. But the judges’ decisions on which twin looked older coincided almost perfectly with their smoking histories.

“The purpose of this study was to offer scientific evidence that smoking changes not only longevity, but also quality of appearance,” said the senior author, Dr. Bahman Guyuron, chairman of the plastic surgery department at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. “It is harmful any way you look at it.”

Take the New York Times’ Well Quiz here.


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