Researchers from Curtin University have reported success in encouraging young adult smokers to quit by showing them computer-generated images of how their faces might look in their 50s and 60s if they continue to smoke.
The project used accelerated smoking-related photoaging on participants aged 18-30 in a community pharmacy setting to determine if the intervention promoted cessation among young adult smokers.
Mrs Oksana Burford, a pharmacist and lecturer at the School of Pharmacy, conducted a randomised control trial under the supervision of Professor Moyez Jiwa, Chair of Health Innovation, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute.
“Available literature suggests that cigarette smoking continues to be a major modifiable risk factor for a variety of diseases and that smokers aged 18-30 years are relatively resistant to anti-smoking messages due to their widely held belief that they will not be lifelong smokers,” Professor Jiwa said.
“As a result, we wanted to look at the issue from a different angle. We conducted the trial to establish whether digitally photoaging participants using the internet-based APRIL® Face Aging software, would have any effect on their smoking status.
“Smokers are more likely to experience wrinkling of the face, gauntness of facial features, and a grey and plethoric complexion and we were able to demonstrate this to 160 participants using the technology.
“We found that using this photoaging technology to confront smokers with how their smoking will affect their skin aging was effective at persuading one in seven young adult smokers to quit,” he said.
“The results of this research form part of what could be an exciting and important step in identifying alternative opportunities to spread the message about the harm that smoking causes, and ultimately, encourage people to quit smoking.”
The results have been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and the full article is available from http://www.jmir.org/2013/3/e64/.