Health

Smoking 'is a big turn-off' in the dating game

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Image caption Two thirds of 35-44 year olds said they would refuse a kiss from a smoker

To boost your chances of dating success this Valentine's Day quit the fags, suggests a poll that shows smoking is one of the biggest turn-offs.

Three-quarters of people aged 18 to 24 said they would not kiss someone who had just smoked.

And half the 1,700 people surveyed for the Department of Health (DoH) said they would think twice about starting a serious relationship with a smoker.

More than eight million people in England smoke.

Half of these are likely to die from smoking-related diseases if they do not quit.

By quitting smoking, smokers could increase their life expectancy by 16 years, estimates suggest.

So, people who want to stay one step ahead of the game this Valentine's Day should put an end to their habit and quit today, says the Department of Health.

Anecdotal reports from dating agencies appear to back this up, it says.

The relationship website eHarmony.co.uk says 81% of its members state they would not partner with a heavy smoker.

At Match.com 72% of male members and 73% of female members said they wanted a non-smoking partner and at mysinglefriend.com over 67% of respondents said smoking would put them off dating someone.

Sarah Beeny, host of Channel 4's Property Ladder and founder of mysinglefriend.com, said: "Whilst obviously people aren't permanently a smoker in many cases and some people can see past this - it does clearly influence a person's decision to date you.

"It's particularly obvious that non-smokers find it harder to live with a smoker, so by giving up you not only increase your dating market, but protect the years you have together when you do settle down."

But Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said the DoH research was a waste of taxpayers' money, adding: "To then use it to denigrate a substantial minority of the population with cheap personal jibes says more about the Department of Health than it does about smokers and their attractiveness to other people."

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