Before-and-after photos have their place and level of effectiveness for making points, but when you can compare how identical twins have aged — and use differences in smoking habits as the variable — one can hit scientific pay dirt.
Which is what researchers did, interviewing 79 sets of identical twins at the annual Twins Days Festival in (where else?) Twinsburg, Ohio; their findings were published in the latest issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, according to the Daily Mail.
As you might expect, when one identical twin smokes more than the other identical twin, the findings indicate that impact on visible aging is significant — even with as little as five years' difference in smoking history.
Smoking reduces oxygen to the skin, which also decreases blood circulation, which in turn can result in weathered, wrinkled, older-looking skin, says Dr. Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon and the lead author of the study.
Also of note: Even if a person has smoked for a long time, quitting the habit can have a positive impact to his or her overall health, including visible skin damage.
Here's some more visual proof, all photos via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
(H/T: Daily Mail)