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Event to explore impact of smoking on appearance

15 November 2012

Stressing the impact of smoking on appearance could be more effective in stopping young people smoking than traditional health warnings, it has been claimed.

Researchers believe smokers could be influenced to alter their habit by being shown sophisticated computer models which reflect the difference prolonged smoking will make to how old they look.

A team led by Professor Sarah Grogan at Staffordshire University have conducted research which involved showing men and women how they are likely to age as a result of smoking, as well as skin conditions related to sun exposure.

Prof Grogan and her colleagues will be presenting their conclusions as part of a series of seminars in Wrexham, arranged by Glyndŵr University’s Research Centre for Health, Wellbeing and Society.

Dr Lynne Kennedy, reader in public health at Glyndŵr University, said the event was open to the public as well as university staff and students.

She said: “Smoking is of course a huge public health challenge. The social and economic burden cannot be underestimated, yet it is clear that among young people in particular many health campaigns fall on deaf ears.

“Health-related dangers can seem too distant and remote from everyday life – only in later life do people come to regret the decisions they make when younger.

“By showing the effects of both smoking and over-exposure to sun on appearance, there is the opportunity to tap in to young people’s established concerns over maintaining a youthful appearance.”

The technology works by morphing facial images to show the impact of different levels of behaviour.

Dr Kennedy said: “Prof Grogan and her team are not advocating that traditional warnings over cancer, heart disease, strokes and other illnesses should be abandoned. However they will conclude that appearance-related morphing could be a useful addition to future public health campaigns.”

The event will be held at Glyndŵr University on Wednesday, February 20, and is among seven seminars in the series. The first, this coming Wednesday (November 21) will see senior lecturer in mental health nursing Dr Marjorie Lloyd give a talk entitled Developing a Methodology for Person-Centred Practice.

The event, to be held between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, focuses on her PhD research, looking at dementia and related mental health conditions.

Other seminars will look at subjects including specialist nurses and palliative care.

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