Shock tactics stopping smokers

The ageing effects of smoking on the face are shocking women in to giving up the habit, according to new research and it looks as though the mirror might be the most effective tool yet in the fight against addiction

Using state-of-the-art morphing technology, researchers at the University of Staffordshire have been able to produce facial images of what women smokers will look like if they continue to smoke.

The research, funded by Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust, has been so successful that over two thirds of the 47 women who participated say they will quit smoking as a direct consequence.

Project leader Professor Sarah Grogan says: ‘We found that women were very concerned about the impact of ageing on their faces in general and particular the additional impact of smoking on their skin.’

Using age progression softwear, researchers were able to use a picture of a woman’s face and age the image to show how she would look if she stopped smoking – and how she’d look if she didn’t.

The team plan to re-evaluate the participants in six months’ time to determine the success of the technique but the initial feedback suggests the technology could be used more widely to deter smokers.

‘Many experienced a physical shock reaction, including reports of nausea, in seeing how they would age if they continued to smoke,’ says Professor Grogan. It is hoped the innovative technique could be introduced in to anti-smoking services across the UK.

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