Susan L Crum, Ph.D. 


Behavioral Medicine,


Can You Tell Which Twin is a Smoker?

Posted by cfln4646 on November 4, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Most everyone is aware of the physical dangers of smoking cigarettes, but few consider the mental health effects. First, as can be seen even in photos of identical twins, smoking speeds up facial aging; which in turn decreases our self-esteem and our attractiveness to partners. The latter decrease in attractiveness, further erodes our self-esteem and can be a factor contributing to feelings of anxiety or depression.

Of course, one can use facial creams and plastic surgery to address the damage smoking does to your skin. You can also pay for tooth whitening. There is not much one can do about the decrease in body mass (muscle) which makes men look more effeminate and women appear older. So, even if you don’t believe the National Institutes of Health when they report that smoking kills more than five million people each year around the world, and is responsible for nearly 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, or the US Centers for Disease Control and prevention when it tells you that smoking increases the risk for cancer by up to 23 times for men and 13 times for women, you might be vain enough to want to avoid faster aging and appearing less attractive to the opposite sex.

You might also want to consider the fact that nicotine is an anxiolytic. So, there is a good chance that you are suffering from unidentified and untreated anxiety; for which there are much more effective interventions.

Given this fact you might want to consult with your physician about a temporary prescription for a medication (such as Bupropion (Zyban) or Varenicline (Chantix) that will decrease your cravings for nicotine. Simultaneously consider using a Nicotine replacement patch or chewing gum and gradually decreasing your physiological dependence.

Finally, call a local psychologist who specializes in behavioral medicine. They can help you identify your anxiety triggers, figure out which you can reduce or eliminate, and how to go about it, as well as teach you effective techniques for stress management and anxiety reduction. Taking this last step, which will probably mean one session a week for about twelve to sixteen weeks, can be the crucial factor is remaining nicotine free.

Presented as a community service by,


Susan L. Crum, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist




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