The London Times

Excerpt:

SMOKERS and obese people are biologically "older" than their contemporaries, British scientists have discovered.

Research at St Thomas' Hospital, Central London, has revealed that both smoking and obesity can accelerate a form of genetic decline associated with ageing that is thought to contribute to conditions such as heart disease and cancer. The study shows that women who smoke and those who are obese have shorter than normal telomeres -- genetic structures that protect DNA from age-related damage

The effect is so marked that obese women appear to be up to 8.8. years older in biological terms than women of a healthy weight, while heavy smokers appear up to 7.4 years older than those who have never smoked...

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