Smokers are more concerned about the effects cigarettes have on their looks than their health, new research revealed today.
Experts found that, despite the potentially fatal long-term consequences of lighting up, a large percentage still find skin wrinkles and yellow teeth more troubling than lung damage.
The study also found more than half of smokers either have, or are planning to, quit over fears about the damage it is doing to their appearance.
But the in-depth findings by electronic cigarette brand VIP found one in seven admitted they would be more likely to give up the cigarettes if they noticed an effect on how they looked, rather than because their health was suffering.
And more than a quarter admitted this was the reason they have decided to quit tobacco for good.
Dave Levin, co-owner of VIP, said: ”The health effects of smoking are well documented, but people are less aware that cigarettes can also damage your looks.
”During our research three quarters of smokers said that their habit had caused deterioration to their looks and it was this, more than their health, that concerned them.
”While the health issues caused by smoking are so widely advertised, they aren’t always as easy to see or notice.
”But the effects on your appearance are something you can see every time you look at your reflection, whether it’s deeper wrinkles, discoloured teeth or a sallow complexion.”
The study, of 1,500 current or ex-smokers found that a staggering 88 per cent even admitted they regret taking it up in the first place because it is now showing in their appearance.
And the average smoker said they started to see the damage to their appearance around the age of 32.
Yellow teeth were named as the biggest concern with more than four in ten smokers saying they hated the effect cigarettes have had on their smile.
Bad breath, as well as the general odour that goes with being a smoker followed close behind, along with an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.
Stained and discoloured nails and fingers, wrinkled mouth and bad or ashen skin are also among the aspects of their appearance that smokers worry about.
Worryingly, the research also revealed that more than eight in ten admitted they are more likely to take notice of the effects of smoking they can actually see, such as yellow teeth and wrinkles, rather than what it is doing to their health and body internally.
One in three smokers has even experienced somebody insulting them or pointing out the effects of tobacco directly to their face.
And four in ten spend more time on their beauty regime to try and compensate for the effects of the cigarettes.
Dave Levin added: ”During the Christmas period Public Health England launched its latest TV advertising campaign to graphically demonstrate the health implications of tobacco.
”While we feel these messages are important and will resonate with some smokers, our research indicates that for many, vanity is also a key issue.
”VIP electronic cigarettes have been designed to offer a harm reducing alternative to smokers.
”They are not only widely recognised by a number of leading health professionals as healthier than tobacco cigarettes, but they’re also much kinder on our looks.
”Electronic cigarettes are free of the harmful toxins found in tobacco cigarettes which mean users can enjoy the great taste of VIP and stay looking good.
”What’s more, because VIP electronic cigarettes are virtually odourless and smoke free, there are no lingering tobacco smells.”
Top ten effects smokers worry about cigarettes having on their looks
1. Yellowing teeth
2. Bad breath
3. General odour from smoke
4. An increase in wrinkles
5. An increase in fine lines
6. Yellowing nails/fingers
7. Missing teeth
8. Wrinkly mouth/lips
9. Bad skin
10. Discoloured/ashen skin