When talking of the dangers of smoking things such as cancer, emphysema and heart
problems are always mentioned but there are some more insidious effects from
smoking. This is primarily around blood circulation and oxygen uptake by the
blood.

Nicotine when smoked causes the blood vessels to constrict and this reduces the amount
of blood to supply nutrients to the cells. This is especially pronounced with
the small blood vessels that nourish the skin. The blood also takes up the
carbon monoxide from smoking rather than oxygen so the blood of smokers has
less oxygen to give to the cells.

The net effect of this is that the cells of the skin of smokers gets less oxygen and
ages more rapidly than that of a non-smoker. The skin of smokers tends to look
dry and wrinkled and it is estimated that on average a smoker will look ten
years older than they are.

The blood nourishes hair cells, follicles, that are located in the skin. Smoking results
in the follicles getting less nourishment than that of non-smokers. The result
is that the hair tends to lose its shine and is more prone to falling out and
thinning.

So it can be seen that not only does smoking increase the chance of major life
threatening diseases but it can also have quite severe cosmetic effects that
lead to premature aging and baldness.

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