Smoke and mirrors: face up to how smoking affects you

Faces of smoking

The Canadian Lung Association offers people a chance to try out an online face-aging tool to see how their faces age if they smoked

Ottawa, ON – In an effort to encourage smokers to quit and young people not to start, the Canadian Lung Association is offering the use of an online tool so people can face up to the harmful effects of smoking.

"You can’t always see how smoking affects your entire body, but this online tool allows you to see how smoking could affect your looks," says Heather Borquez, CEO and president of the Canadian Lung Association. "We’re offering people the opportunity to see how they would look in the future if they start smoking or continue to smoke."

Nearly five million Canadians continue to smoke1 and up to half of them will become ill or die from continued tobacco use.2

In 2008-09, the percentage of youth in grades 6-9 that had ever tried smoking cigarettes ranged from a low of 14% in Ontario to a high of 36% in Quebec. In grades 10-12, youth that had ever tried smoking cigarettes ranged from a low of 44% in Ontario to a high of 61% in Saskatchewan.3

From May 19th to June 6th, the Canadian Lung Association invites people to visit its Facebook page or their provincial Lung Association Facebook page, to get a promotional code that allows them to use the tool, free of charge.

Visitors can upload their image to and see a side-by-side, dramatic visual display of how their face will age naturally, or how they’ll look if they smoke.

"People can share their photo aging on their own Facebook page or post it to their provincial Lung Association Facebook page," says Ms. Borquez. "We invite all Canadians to try this out and tell their friends and family to try it, too."

How to quit smoking

There are many proven ways to quit smoking. To boost the chances of quitting, smokers should choose more than one method and pick what seems right for them. Each person is different. Smokers should speak to a health-care professional about the available options.

Fast Facts on Tobacco Use in Canada

  • Tobacco is a leading preventable cause of death in Canada, responsible for over 37,000 deaths annually4 and about one third of cancers5.
  • More than 90 per cent of the estimated five million current Canadian smokers would like to quit, according to "Making Quit Happen: Canada's Challenges to Smoking Cessation,"
  • For the 79 per cent of smokers who have tried to quit, an average of six quit attempts were reported.6
  • The economic impact of tobacco use in Canada is also significant, with an estimated social cost of $17 billion per year7.
  • The most recent estimates indicate that tobacco-related illness costs Canadians $4.4 billion in direct health care costs, and is responsible for 2.2 million acute care hospital days8.

Celebrate a Quitter!

Share your decision to quit, or your support, through a variety of tools offered by The Canadian Lung Association. Share a personal quit story, or send an e-card to encourage loved ones to quit smoking by visiting Follow @canlung on Twitter for tips and information on how to quit.

Learn how to quit smoking.

Find out where to get help to quit smoking.

Send an e-card to encourage your friends to quit or tell friends that you plan to quit.

About World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day was created in 1987 by the World Health Organization to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. It is celebrated around the world every year on May 31st.

About The Canadian Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.

For more national media interviews, please contact:

Janis Hass
Director, Marketing and Communications
The Canadian Lung Association
613-569-6411 ext. 252

About the face-aging software and online tool

Aprilage is the developer of the unique APRIL® face aging software and online tool which are used worldwide in health, science, education, and law enforcement.
Aprilage contact:
Alexandra Brown



1 Health Canada, CTUMS 2011 Wave 1 Survey Results. Accessed on May 13th, 2011. Available at:
2 Peto, R., Lopez, A.D., Boreham, J, Thun, M., & Heath, C. (1992). Mortality from tobacco in developed countries: indirect estimation from national vital statistics. Lancet, 339, 1268-1278.
3 Health Canada, Summary of Results of the 2008-2009 Youth Smoking Survey. Accessed on May 13th, 2011. Available at:
4 Baliunas, D., Patra, J., Rehm, J., Popova, S., Kaiserman, M., & Taylor, B. (2007). Smoking-attributable mortality and expected years of life lost in Canada 2002: Conclusions for prevention and policy. Chronic Diseases in Canada, 27(4), 154-162.
5 Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2005, Toronto, Canada.
6 Canadian Lung Association, Making Quit Happen: Canada’s Challenges to Smoking Cessation, 2008. Available at:
7 Rehm, J., Baliunas, D., Brochu, S., Fischer, B., Gnam, W., Patra, J., et al. (2006). The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada, 2002. Ottawa: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
8 Ibid.

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Page Last Updated: 25/08/2014