'Tobacco Body' Site Shows Your Body On Cigarettes, and It's Not Pretty

I’ve never been a smoker, which obviously I’m happy about for a variety of reasons — but believe you me, nothing has made me gladder not to have ever picked up the habit than this terrifying website, Tobacco Body, which shows how smoking effects your health.

We constantly hear about the horrors that smoking wreaks on your body, but Tobacco Body illustrates it in the most effective way I’ve ever seen. The site shows a person (you can choose a man or woman) with a line down the middle of their body. On the right side is what the person looks like as a non-smoker; on the left side is what he or she looks like as a smoker. The line down the middle is clickable, allowing you to slide it back and forth between the two sides. Want a view of an entire healthy person? Pull the line all the way over to the left. A full view of a smoker? Pull it all the way to the right. Part smoker, part healthy? Adjust how much of each you can see by moving the slider back and forth.

The real kicker, though, is the way the site works through each and every part of the body. Clicking on any of the 18 items in the menu on the left tells you exactly what happens to that body part when you smoke versus when you don’t. It covers the usual suspects — breath odor, yellowed teeth, lung damage and cancer, and so on — but I also learned a whole bunch of other things I had no idea tobacco does to your body. For example, did you know that smoking causes acne? Because it does — it decreases blood circulation, making your skin more susceptible to infections. Acne in smokers is also more difficult to treat than it is in non-smokers. Or did you know that in women, smoking obliterates your sex drive? Tobacco causes the liver to break down estrogen more efficiently, which in turns lessens your interest in sex. Who knew?

Addiction is an extremely difficult battle to win, so I’m not sure whether Tobacco Body will be super successful in getting people to quit. However, Kimberly Lo over at Elephant notes, “Speaking as someone who lost her maternal grandfather and uncle to lung cancer, I wish that there had been something around like this when they made the decision to smoke” — and she may have hit the proverbial nail on the head. Prevention is worth a lot when it comes to things like this, so maybe — just maybe — tools like this might eventually give us the advantage.

Image: Tobacco Body