Signs of a Smoker

Signs of a Smoker
Signs of a Smoker (Image: 2008 Saquan Stimpson/monstershaq2000 / Creative Commons)

Though a person might try to hide a smoking habit, there are telltale signs of the habit that are almost unavoidable. In addition to outer signals, there are certain health indicators that also point to cigarette consumption. Many of these flags vanish once the person ceases smoking, but others are permanent barring surgical intervention.


One can spot a smoker by noticing several symptoms. The range of symptoms will vary depending on the number of cigarettes smoked daily and how long the smoker has been smoking. Symptoms range from behavioral to purely aesthetic, with many people exhibiting signs from different categories.

Outer Effects of Smoking

Outwardly, one might first recognize a smoker by smell. Cigarette smoke clings to clothing, skin and hair. No matter how clean a person is, smoke molecules infiltrate these porous surfaces and settle in to stay, creating a musty odor. Hair and skin might look dull, and there might be wrinkles around the mouth from repetitive puckering. Even with chewing gum, a smoker's breath might smell like tobacco. Smokers might also accidentally burn or have ash on their clothing, creating holes and marks.

Inner Effects of Smoking

Long-time smokers often experience heavy coughing, hoarseness and changes in physical endurance. Nicotine addiction alters the brain, causing people to become anxious and jumpy unless they have a smoke. Reproductive organ damage from cigarettes also may cause missed periods, low sperm count and early onset menopause.

Behavioral Signs of Smoking

Smoking can wreak long-term havoc on your feelings and actions. According to Science Daily, Florida State University professor Carlos Bolanos has found that "nicotine given to adolescent rats induced a depression-like state characterized by a lack of pleasure and heightened sensitivity to stress in their adult lives." In the workplace, frequent smoke breaks can lead to resentment from nonsmoking peers, as well as lost work hours and effectiveness. Many smokers keep up the habit for the thinning effect, fearing that they'll gain weight if they stop. Others smoke to calm the nerves, letting the habit train them into smoking upon waking, after eating or during times of stress.

Signs of A Quitting Smoker

People often avoid smokers who are quitting, mainly because they're afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. Classic signs of quitting include a short temper, hunger and anxiety. Although withdrawal might feel hellish, there are excellent developments that people can see along the path. Coughing and respiratory ailments begin to clear up between one and nine months, and skin starts to freshen once more. Smokers may also find more enjoyment from their food because their taste and smell become more acute.

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