How to Tell If Someone Is a Smoker?


Cigarette smoking is known to cause lung cancer and emphysema, which can lead to death. While health warnings have increased, many people still continue to smoke. The following steps may help you determine whether someone is a smoker.

Smell the person. Cigarette smoke penetrates everything from the hair to the skin to the clothes of the person smoking. Heavy smokers will often smell of smoke even immediately after a shower or changing their clothes. While the use of perfume or cologne can help mask the smell, it is still possible to detect a faint smell of cigarettes on those who are habitual smokers.

Examine the person’s fingers and teeth. People who smoke tend to have yellow fingernails and stained teeth. Again, this does not apply to all smokers, but it is a negative side effect of long-term smoking.

Be on the lookout for increased coughing. Many smokers develop a “smoker’s cough” whether they are long-term or new smokers. This cough tends to be consistent and sounds deep and hoarse. (See Reference 1)

Evaluate any sudden weight loss or suppressed appetite. If the person is new to smoking, the chances are high he or she has experienced an unexplained weight loss or decrease in food consumption. Cigarettes often act as an appetite suppressant and can lead to weight loss. If the person you know has recently lost weight without a change in lifestyle and is showing the other signs of smoking, he or she is likely a smoker.

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