New app a smoking time machine

Keisha Castle-Hughes can be seen to have aged after 20 years of smoking. Photo / NZ Herald
Keisha Castle-Hughes can be seen to have aged after 20 years of smoking. Photo / NZ Herald

A new smartphone app that shows smokers how much cigarettes will destroy their looks has been developed to encourage people to quit while they're young.

Developed by the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS), the "Smoking Time Machine" can age the face by up to 20 years to show much havoc the 4000 chemicals found in cigarettes can wreak on the skin. It is hoped the app will give young people the necessary reality check to give up before it's too late.

On the Smoking Time Machine webpage, it says the effects of cigarette-induced aging include deeper wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, a grey palour to the skin and sagging jowls. It warns that many of these chemicals are also found in substances like jet fuel, bleach, embalming fluid and rat poison.

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust, which has launched the app as part of a month-long stop smoking campaign, worked alongside forensic profilers to create a lifelike representation of the effects of smoking.

Kate Norman, from the trust, said the obvious consequences of smoking such as cancer and lung disease often aren't taken seriously by young people.

"But this app uses their face and shows them how they will look. It's something that is very close to home and hard to ignore," The Daily Mail reported.

Their research revealed that 40 per cent of regular smokers got hooked before the age of 16-years-old. It's hoped the shock factor of the effects will resonate with teenagers who are conscious of their appearance.

Meanwhile, Canada has approached the problem of smoking by tackling social smokers in a new ad campaign.

The ad, part of Ontario Ministry of Health's "Quit the Denial" campaign, ridicules social smokers by comparing them to "social farters".

"It's true that I fart, but I wouldn't call myself a farter. I'm a social farter," the protagonist says.

"Sometimes I'll use farting as an excuse to meet a guy. 'Do you want to go outside for a fart?'" she asks a fellow party-goer.

And the moral of the story?

"Social smoking is as ridiculous as social farting."

See some kiwi celebrities transformed by the app here.

- nzherald.co.nz

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