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Smokers age more quickly than non-smokers, says study

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Helsinki (dpa) - Smokers age more quickly than non-smokers, according to a Finnish study released Friday which found that people who smoked looked several years older than non-smokers of the same age.

The results may help persuade smokers to quit their habit, said the study's author, Anina Raitio of the medical faculty at Oulu University, about 600 kilometres north of Helsinki.

Raitio studied 98 Finnish males who were on average 52 years old, of whom 47 were smokers and 51 were non-smokers. They were recruited from among staff of ENSO Fine Papers, Kemira Chemicals and Oulu University Hospital.

Men were selected in order to reduce the possible affects of cosmetics and hormone treatment on the study. The men came from northern Finland where sun exposure is not a main factor.

The evaluation included studying the appearance and physical qualities of skin, including skin wrinkling, thickness and elasticity.

Raitio also conducted biochemical analyses, and photographs of the faces of 26 smokers and 31 non-smokers were assessed by computerised image analysis.

A panel of eight including several dermatologists assessed the photographs of the subjects.

"We did not observe significant differences in skin wrinkling between smokers and non-smokers, but smokers looked older for their age compared to non-smokers," Raitio said in her study.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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