Smokers given early ageing shock

BBC News
 21 January 2010

People who smoke are being encouraged to stop by being shown what they may look like in 20 years time if they do not kick the habit.

Stop Smoking Hypnotherapy Aged SmokerThe shock treatment is being delivered through "ageing machines" which have been placed in branches of Boots the Chemist in Glasgow and Braehead. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde hopes the approach will show smokers their addiction can cause premature ageing. Those who want to stop will be able to access help at the pharmacy counter.

The software used to create the aged image is based on technology at Glasgow Science Centre. Its potential to be modified to help smokers quit was spotted by Liz Grant, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's public health pharmacist. She said: "This is a novel approach to encouraging people to quit, because for the first time they can actually look into the future and see the physical impact of smoking on their looks if they don't stop smoking, and I think many will find this shocking. The overall message is that smoking can age you prematurely."

The software asks for information covering current age, ethnicity and gender, followed by the age that you would like to see yourself in the future. Morphed image A picture is taken and behind the scenes it morphs the image over the period of time chosen and they appear side by side on the screen. For Carol Jane Cameron, 41, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, her picture of the future was motivation enough for her to make a second attempt to quit. "I've been smoking since I was 16, latterly up to 20 cigarettes a day," she said. "I'd tried before to give up, using laser treatment and herbal drops, but seeing the picture showing what you are going to look like if you keep on smoking was a shock. "The pharmacy staff are really helpful, they don't judge you and if I need any help and support I know I can just drop in and speak to them."

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