Smoker's face is the way in which an inveterate cigarette smoker can be identified, even in the absence of olfactory cues. Characterized by deep, prunelike wrinkles; a marked, permanent puffiness around and especially below the eyes, giving them a vertically constricted aspect not dissimilar from a premature infant; and by the formation of small vertical lines along the outside edges of the lips, into which lipstick sometimes migrates.

A perfect example is the brilliant casting of William B. Davis as The Cigarette Smoking Man on television's The X-Files. Other examples include British actor Sir Ian McKellen, or the terrifying Rose Marie of The Dick Van Dyck Show and Hollywood Squares.

While the term doubtlessly existed long before, the first published coinage is credited to Dr. Douglas Model in 1985. Observing the correlation between wrinkling and smoking, Model discovered that he could correctly identify half of the long time smokers among clinic patients by their faces alone. All had one or more of the following: "paper-dry skin that looks purplish, orange, or red and blotchy; deeply etched prunelike wrinkles radiating at right angles from the lips or eyes; a haggard, sickly-looking face." (L. Udesky, Consumer Health Interactive, 2003)

Smoker's face is caused by the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke. These chemicals reduce the blood flow to the skin by constricting the tiny blood vessels in the epidermis. The resulting lack of oxygen and nutrients impairs the skin's ability to produce the protein collagen, necessary for the production of healthy new skin. (ibid.)

Probably the term wasn't coined earlier, because in a generation where smoking was ubiquitous, this appearance was simply thought of as aging.

Some smokers never seem to develop smoker's face; probably they are just lucky.

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