Why is smoking cool again?
Haven’t we been over this before? We mean the whole battle over smoking being cool. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when we beauty docs were either little girls or not even twinkles in our parents’ eyes, smoking in movies and TV was all the rage. If you were a femme fatale, detective or tough guy, you had to be wreathed in cigarette smoke. But by the 1990s society and public health efforts had effectively countered the image of smoking as the essence of coolness, in part with smoking bans and advertising like the famous faux-Marlboro billboards where one cowboy says to another, “Bob, I’ve got cancer.” Essentially, we thought we had this smoking thing licked, but apparently—and disturbingly—we were wrong.
Now comes a study from the University of Staffordshire in the UK showing that Brits age 17-24 worry about the effects of smoking on their appearance but most don’t intend to consider quitting until they see visible signs of damage. Now, smoking has always been more of an issue in Europe, where it’s widespread, but this is a very dangerous attitude, especially if it’s reflected here in the U.S. First of all, damage to skin and teeth occurs at the microscopic level long before it’s visible to the naked eye. Second, and perhaps more important, smoking may be the single most damaging thing you can do to your general health, and as we’ve said before, health is beautiful. Health is a stage of the Beauty-Brain Loop, so if you negatively impact your health, you’re going to harm all the other aspects of your beauty.
Public officials in the UK have said that they intend to use the results of the study to create a series of new public service advertisements highlighting the ways in which smoking can damage the looks of appearance-conscious young people. Well done, but why wait? Let’s bring the news to the people right now! These are some of the major ways in which cigarette smoking damages your skin, hair, teeth, and overall exterior:
- Smoking releases free radicals in your lungs, producing an inflammation response throughout the body. This affects the skin by accelerating cellular breakdown, producing wrinkles and the gray pallor commonly known as “smoker’s face.”
- It reduces the level of oxygen in your blood and thus depletes the collagen in your skin. This can cause sagging and a premature aging.
- The reduced circulation caused by smoking also causes the skin to become thinner, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
- It yellows teeth and causes bad breath.
Smoking is also highly addicting because the nicotine and other addictive chemicals go right to the lungs and bloodstream, so it’s very easy to get hooked. Young smokers are very vulnerable to this rapid physiological addiction to tobacco.
We could go on, but why? It’s common knowledge that smoking is terrible for your body, inside and out. We’re not sure that any public service ads are going to dissuade youth, who always think they’re immortal, but it’s worth a try. If you think about the effect that smoking has on Inner Beauty (making you feel bad about being a smoker and not being able to quit) and on Environment (repelling other people who hate the smoke and ruining the area around you), there may be nothing more toxic to the Beauty-Brain Loop. We’ll keep an eye out for similar research in the U.S….and hope for better results.
Debi & Eva