Can’t Taste Your Food? Blame Cigarettes!
Every once in awhile, it’s important to stop and smell the roses - both figuratively and literally. Roses, daisies, cherry blossoms - pick a flower and inhale deeply! The problem is, if you’re a smoker (or have been a smoker for years), you most likely won’t get absolutely anything out of it. The sad truth is - your sense of smell has been so badly damaged by years of smoking that nothing smells as it should anymore.
Cigarette smoke contains around 5,000 chemical compounds. 70 of those are cancerogenic and we’re left with 4,930 more (give or take a couple of hundred) that will wreak havoc on your body in predictable and unpredictable ways. Smoking-related loss of smell is one of those effects that you will notice relatively quickly. Unfortunately, you’ll also get used to it fast so you won’t even know what you’re missing.
Olfactory nerves, which are located at the back of your nose, are responsible for transmitting smell signals to your brain. Smoke is inhaled through the mouth and the nose and various chemicals in cigarettes damage those nerves. The damage can be so drastic that smokers lose all their ability to smell! However, most smokers won’t be hit that hard - their sense of smell will probably have in comparison to non-smokers.
How to Diagnose Damage to Your Nerves?
This is difficult to do objectively but try to think back. Are there foods that you use to enjoy but when you taste them know you just don’t get the same kick? If there are, your diminished sense of smell might very well be responsible for that because the smell is closely tied to taste.
Of course, to be absolutely sure you’re going to have to visit a doctor and have your nasal cavity checked out. In case of severe damage, a CT or CAT scan might be necessary to determine if there’s any damage to your sinus cavity.
Loss of smell makes life less enjoyable but it also makes it more dangerous. Gas leaks, spoiled milk, toxic fumes - all of these might escape your notice if your nose is not able to recognize them. If that happens, you’re looking at stomach cramps, food poisoning, and run of the mill poisoning - none of which are pleasant and all of which are life-threatening.
Sense of Smell and Vaping
We still don’t have any clinical evidence that vaping does not affect the sense of smell. Researchers are looking into it, as well as into other potential benefits. However, anecdotal evidence from thousands of vapers suggests that vaping is not nearly as damaging to olfactory nerves as smoking is. This is understandable - there are approximately 99% fewer chemicals involved in vaping than there is in smoking.
Still, vapers do report a temporary reduction in their sense of smell from time to time, especially when they are vaping on very intense flavors. Also, that first switch to vaping can cause your smell to go out of whack for a while. It’s important to note that these things go away after time and after mixing up your vape juices. There still no scientific evidence to confirm that vaping even partially affects olfactory nerves - especially to the extent that smoking does.
To celebrate the National Sense of Smell Day this year (April 29th) top up your tank with your favorite vape juice and take a few deep puffs. After that, order your favorite food and enjoy the tastes and the smells and give thanks that you’re no longer hooked on those awful analogs!