Premature grey hair and hair loss among smokers: a new opportunity for health education?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 21 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1616
  1. J G Mosley, consultant surgeona,
  2. A C C Gibbs, statisticianb
  1. a Leigh Infirmary, Leigh, Lancashire WN7 1HS
  2. b Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, Christie Hospital, Manchester M20 4QL

    People who smoke have characteristic facial changes similar to those seen in premature aging.1 Grey hair, facial wrinkles, and smoking are also established risk factors for myocardial infarction.2 Although greying and hair loss are natural phenomena that affect us all, one of us (JGM) had often met patients in his clinic aged under 50 who not only seemed to have more severe arterial disease than one would expect but also looked older than their chronological age, and he had noticed that most of these patients seemed to smoke. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that premature hair change may be causally associated with cigarette smoking.

    Methods and results

    All new patients attending a general surgical outpatient clinic were studied over three months. There …

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