- Brinker TJ, et al. J Med Internet Res. 2016;18:e183, http://bit.ly/2aKV2Cs.
Adolescents may be turned off from smoking if they see the negative impact on their attractiveness over the years, a study found.
Youths may see smoking as glamorous, so researchers set out to give them a different view by using a photoaging cellphone app called Smokerface.
“Interventions that take advantage of the broad availability of mobile phones as well as adolescents’ interest in their appearance may be a novel way to improve prevention,” authors wrote.
The team asked 125 seventh-graders at three schools in Germany to use the app to take a photo of themselves and see what they would look like in one to 15 years as a smoker or non-smoker.
The images were projected on a screen in front of their classmates and showed smokers having more wrinkled skin and dark spots on their faces compared to non-smokers.
Afterward, 63.2% said they did not want to smoke after seeing the images, and some said they didn’t want to be a “smokerface.” Roughly 64.8% said they found the app educational.
For those who already smoke, the app offers advice for quitting.
Researchers called for further study on whether the app would influence smoking rates but encouraged its use.
“The mobile phone app we investigated in this study was easy to implement and was well-received,” they wrote. “It can be added to existing school-based tobacco-prevention programs.”