A NEW tool to help smokers save face has been launched by Dorset HealthCare’s Stop Smoking Team to mark National No Smoking Day today.

Smokers in Dorset are invited to visit the Trust’s dedicated website i-quit.org.uk to see how they will age if they continue to smoke by using the Smoking Time Machine.

For although most people are aware of the countless health and lifestyle reasons not to smoke, the damage smoking can cause to the quality and appearance of your skin is often overlooked.

The easy-to-use tool lets you see how you will look in 10 or 20 years time as a smoker or non smoker, by simply uploading a current photograph.

Chris Pitt, Stop Smoking Service Co-ordinator, explained: “The face of a typical smoker is generally more lined and there is a dull, grey pallor to the faces of even the most outdoor type of people. Smokers in their forties often have as many wrinkles as non-smokers in their sixties and research shows smoking can reduce the production of collagen by up to 40 per cent.”

He continued: “Smoke is an irritant so smokers tend to squint and wrinkle their eyes producing lines that eventually become permanent. Smokers can also get puckering around the mouth from drawing on a cigarette and often develop hollow cheeks. Smoking has a particularly noticeable effect on a woman’s skin because it is usually thinner, so wrinkles show sooner and are more obvious.

It also restricts blood vessels and so reduces blood flow to the skin, robbing it of oxygen and nutrients.”

The good news is that if smokers decide to quit on No Smoking Day, they will also stop the damage to their collagen levels, immediately boost their flagging circulation and they should see improvements in their skin after just a few weeks.

Information events today

Dorset HealthCare’s Stop Smoking Team will be hosting a series of information stands throughout today at the Dolphin Shopping Centre, Sovereign Centre and both Royal Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals.

The average smoker (who smokes twenty cigarettes a day) could also save £2,920 a year by giving up.

That’s enough to fund a family holiday or some home improvements.

For more information, contact 0300 30 38 038.