New research has revealed just how much smoking can drastically speed up the aging process in adults.
According to scientists, people actually have two ages, their chronological age and their biological age. Chronological, as the name suggests, is your age according to when you were born, but biological age refers to the age of a person’s body based on different biological markers and lifestyle factors.
Two people may be chronologically the same age, but have very different biological ages based on lifestyle, diet, and age-related disease risks.
Researchers from Insilico Medicine, an artificial intelligence solutions company, conducted a study to examine the impact smoking has on biological age.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports and results show that smoking can increase a person’s biological age as much as 20 years.
The researchers reviewed and analyzed a large dataset meant to represent the entire population of Alberta, Canada including both rural and urban populations. The dataset was comprised on 149,000 individual records and of those 49,000 were smokers.
Blood biochemistry and cell count information on non-smokers and smokers was then fed into a deep neural network, an advanced algorithm and modeling system, which had been trained to predict the chronological age of an individual based on the blood data.
The researchers first predicted that the biological age of smokers under 30 would be anywhere between 31 to 50.
After the deep neural network analyzed the data, biological age for smokers 31 to 40 years of age was predicted to be 41 to 50.
“Compared with nonsmokers, smokers showed an accelerated rate of aging through to age 55 years regardless of sex,” the researchers said.
Older smokers did not have as drastic differences in their ages.
Analysis of blood tests could soon replace traditional self-reporting methods that medical professionals use to measure the health impacts of different lifestyle choices, according to the Daily Mail which reported on the study.
“We applied artificial intelligence to prove that smoking significantly increases your biological age,” said Polina Mamoshina, the lead author of the study. “I am pleased to be part of the research study, which provides fascinating scientific evidence that smoking is likely to accelerate ageing.”