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Skin to benefit from smoking ban

People who quit smoking following the ban on lighting up in public places in England will get a fresh "glow" to their skin, dermatologists claim.

Nonsmokers currently exposed to smoky atmospheres in clubs, bars and restaurants will also reap the health benefits of the ban, they added.

Tobacco smoke causes the skin to age prematurely, and recent studies suggest that passive smoking also leads to wrinkles.

Dr Colin Holden, president of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: "When we think of the impact of smoking on the body, we obviously concentrate on the risks of lung cancer and heart disease.

"However, strong evidence now links the habit to premature ageing of the skin, including wrinkles. These findings may provide an extra incentive for people to quit.

"The skin gets its elasticity to a large extent from collagen.

"Smoking enhances an enzyme in the skin (matrix metalloproteinase-1), which degrades collagen, so the skin loses its elasticity and develops lines.

"In addition, smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, which limits the amount of oxygen that can reach the skin.

"This lack of oxygen reduces production of collagen and elastin and negatively affects the skin's health and appearance generally.

"Smoking can also cause an unattractive yellowing of fingernails which makes the hands look older."

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