Want to Be Beautiful? Put Down the Cigarettes

According to public health officials in Finland, beauty is intertwined with a person’s smoking habits, or lack thereof. In a new campaign sponsored by the Cancer Society of Finland, the Tobacco Body website is now giving you closer look at just what smoking can do for your appearance. The new interactive website shows images of a man and a woman and visitors can click around to see how the physical appearance of each of the models is altered by smoking.

The goal is to harness enough shock factor to send a clear message to teenagers. For young people that feel invincible and just don’t worry about damaging their lungs, hearts, and livers with tobacco and tar, this tactic just might work. Honestly, teens are usually very aware of their appearances and some even obsess over details like clothes or makeup. By showing the shocking images of how smoking can alter the appearances (and not in a good way!), it could be a wake up call to young people that think smoking is harmless.

So what exactly will that nasty tobacco habit change about your appearance? Let’s look at just a few of the things this website shows in the Before and After smoking images.

Fingernails – In the words of the Tobacco Body website, “We’re sorry to inform you that according to nail fashion experts, nicotine yellow is not this season’s colour.”

Body Shape – If you think smoking keeps you thin, you are wrong. Smokers weigh more and have rounder stomachs than nonsmokers.

Face and Body Hair – This one might catch the attention of a few teenage girls! Non-smoking women are less likely to have a lot of hair on their arms or their faces. The website says, “The non-smoking woman usually has no additional hairs growing under her nose… no need for a five-bladed special razor.”

Breath – Smoking causes bad breath. It’s so bad that 20 percent have ended a relationship specifically because of smoking.

Exhaustion – Nobody looks good when they are tired and smokers always look exhausted. The website points this out: “A weary face is not a popular one: out of the 100 most popular profile pictures in a dating service, only 2 were pictures of smokers.”

Ultimately, Finland’s Cancer Society is sending a clear message to young people that smoking will make you fat, hairy, tired, and less likely to land a date. But is this entirely fair? As I read the comments about smoking on this website, I had to wonder how nonsmoking teens felt when they read through it all. If we’re honest, there are going to be some teenage girls that are overweight or struggling with a little facial hair even if they aren’t smoking. That’s just what you get when you are going through adolescence and dealing with crazy hormone fluctuations. Will this website make them feel even worse about body image issues?

On one hand, this website is sending a really important message to young people about the risks of smoking, but it is also setting standards for beauty that might feel a little unachievable. While some might not totally agree with their methods, we can all agree that teens need to stop smoking. Hopefully this website will be another step in the right direction.
Do you think this is an appropriate way to convey the dangers of smoking to teens?

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Author Focus: Katie Bercham
Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 2 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community... Read Full Profile >