Botox is often used to cure wrinkles, but dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu has devised an entirely new usage: quitting smoking! After using Botox to treat upper-lip wrinkles, also known as smoker’s lines and caused by excessive puckering and pursing of the lips, patients told Dr. Wu that in addition to smoother skin, they found smoking difficult because holding the cigarette with their lips was hard.
“Botox helps people stop smoking because when someone smokes, they’re really sucking on the cigarette,” Dr. Wu says. “Over time, those muscles get really strong. The Botox works by relaxing those overactive muscles, and that discourages you from smoking because you are no longer able to draw on that cigarette.”
Courtney, 19, has been smoking for five years and after trying gums, patches and quitting cold turkey to no avail, she is looking for a way to quit for good. “Courtney is a great candidate for this procedure because she’s young, and when she does stop smoking, her lungs will start to heal themselves and her overall health will improve,” Dr. Wu says. “I think she’s going to get a great result.”
Dr. Wu performs the five-minute procedure by injecting Botox into the upper lip, and the injections last about two to three months. A week after the procedure, Courtney has trouble sipping through a straw, whistling and sucking on a cigarette. “I’ve cut down [smoking] a lot,” Courtney says. “I’d say I’ve cut down about 75 percent.”
Learn about other problems that can be treated with Botox!