There has been a fair amount of published research identifying a link between smoking and baldness in men.
The link between smoking and hair loss in women has not been extensively studied - but whether or not you smoke is certainly something to consider when you're trying establish the cause of your hair loss issues.
Experts suggest that the reason smoking causes hair loss is 'multifactoral' (source: PubMed) - in other words, there are many factors coming into play.
Smoking has a negative impact on the circulatory system of the blood - so the blood vessels of a smoker may not be supplying the hair follicles with the oxygen and nutrients they need for healthy hair growth.
In addition, cigarette smoke may damage the hair follicles' DNA, may cause an imbalance in the hair's enzymes, inflammation of the hair follicles and fibrosis (scarring of the skin that can cause hair loss).
And if all THAT doesn't sound bad enough, smoking also makes the hair look dull and brittle... and the hair tends to REALLY hold on to the smell!
Even though there's not a huge amount of medical research identifying a link between smoking and hair loss in women, that's not to say there's none at all.
One study - presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons Annual Conference in 2011 - found that being a divorcee, widow, heavy drinker or heavy smoker could cause hair loss and that heavy smoking is a 'significant contributor to female hair loss around the temples'. Of course, stress could be playing a big part here too, but the research is thought-provoking nonetheless.
Another study - published in the British Medical Journal - indicated that smoking can turn the hair prematurely gray.
...even if it ISN'T the main cause.
On this site, we often say that the hair is like a barometer of our overall health. It's often the first place to suffer when - physically - we're a little out of sorts.
Inhaling a cocktail of over 4,000 chemicals - which is actually what you're doing every time you light up (source: Tri-County Cessation Center) - leaves our bodies more than a 'little out of sorts'! So it's no wonder our hair suffers for it!
So if you ARE a smoker and suffering from hair loss, quitting can ONLY help.
But you already knew that, didn't you?
When you've made the decision to quit, here's my favorite resource to ensure you succeed, with lots of helpful articles and community support: Quitnet