Computer images show how smoking ages people

Bolton News
13 Jul 2009

A computer programme that shows smokers how they will age is the latest shock tactic being used to encourage people to quit.

The Bolton Stop Smoking Service at the Royal Bolton Hospital held an awareness day to highlight the help available for smokers who want to give up the habit.

The event coincided with the introduction of a smoking ban across the whole hospital site, which came into force on July 1.

Patients, visitors and staff got the chance to use computer software to see how they will look in years to come if they carry on smoking.

Participants had their photograph taken and put into the age progression programme, which took them from their real age right up to their 70s.

They were able to see how they would look with and without smoking.

Visitor Scott Masters, of Red Lane, Breightmet, has been smoking 20 to 30 cigarettes a day for around five years.

Mr Masters, aged 20, said: “They showed me aged 50 without fags and I wasn’t too bad, but with fags there were lots of lines.

“At 65, if I carry on smoking, I was just a mess. I didn’t like what I saw and at 72 it was even worse.

“There’s an unbelievable difference and I’m going to see if I can quit now.”

Linda Troughear, aged 37, of Wigan, is a staff nurse on a respiratory ward at the hospital.

She has been smoking about 10 cigarettes a day, outside work, for 10 years and said: “It is a bit of a shock, the difference if you smoke and don’t. I don’t look too bad as a non-smoker, but smoking at 60 there was a big difference and at 64 I looked awful. I don’t think I can just give up because I do enjoy it, but I’ll keep an eye on it and try not to smoke any more than I do at the moment.”

Tracey Holliday, smoking cessation specialist for pregnancy and hospitals, said: “Smoking makes you look older sooner. For example, the muscles you use to smoke give you lines around your mouth.

“It has an impact on your looks, for example, by dulling your skin, and this is another reason to quit.”

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