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Smoking can reduce the chance of successfully removing a tattoo by 70 percent, a new study finds.

The tattoo’s colors and size also influence the success of removal, The Wall Street Journal reports. Those that contain blue or yellow, or are larger than 12 inches, are more difficult to remove.

The study was conducted at a laser surgery center in Italy, and included 352 people. The findings about smoking’s impact on tattoo removal are new, the article notes. The researchers say almost one-quarter of U.S. college students have at least one tattoo, and about half of people with tattoos later try to get them removed.

Smoking is believed to impede tattoo removal by interfering with wound healing.

The findings appear in the Archives of Dermatology.


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