Why does smoking negatively affect your senses of taste and smell?
Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disorders, but only smokers who quit are probably aware that smoking also causes significant decreases in the abilities to taste and smell. Losing these senses can make life a lot less enjoyable by forever clouding our world view – like consistently looking across a crowded room through the smokey haze of a thousand smokers.
While losing our sense of smell means that we can no longer revel in the sweet-smelling aroma of our mother’s homemade lasagna or the aromatic scent of a dozen roses, it somewhat shockingly has a direct affect on our ability to taste at the same time.
Don’t believe me? Try this simple test. Take a bite of your favorite food – be it French fries, chocolate cake, or a slice of pizza. But before you do, plug your nose so that you cannot smell anything. Now take a bite. How does it taste? Can you taste anything at all?
Chemicals in combustible cigarettes mute our senses of taste and smell
Surprisingly, our ability to enjoy our mother’s cooking relies heavily on our sense of smell. The delicious aroma contributes to the flavor and, therefore, our enjoyment levels.
How many times have you become suddenly overwhelmed with uncontrollable hunger just because you happened to smell something cooking nearby? That’s how amusement parks, street fair vendors, and movie theaters make their money.
Even if you’ve eaten a full, 10-course meal beforehand, it’s almost impossible to pass up buying a big box of buttered popcorn from the concession stand before watching the latest blockbuster at the local movie house. The entire movie-watching experience just isn’t the same without that sweet-smelling popcorn.
Did you know that smokers are twice more likely to suffer from a reduced sense of smell compared to non-smokers, according to the American Council on Science and Health? This diminished sense of smell can occur in smokers of any age, too, because its caused by the thousands of chemicals found in combustible tobacco products.
Vaping is tobacco- and chemical-free
Chemicals and toxins placed inside the tobacco filling of combustible cigarettes blunt the ability for our taste buds to identify and register four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Fortunately, the chemicals do not destroy the taste buds but only diminish their capabilities to register and identify different flavors combinations.
The same thing occurs to the olfactory nerve receptors – located in the back of the nose - that register smell by transmitting signals to the brain. Since smokers inhale and exhale cigarette smoke through both the nose and the mouth perhaps thousands of times per day, these olfactory nerves become damaged by those same noxious chemicals from the tobacco cigarettes much like our taste buds. The more we smoke, the greater the damage caused to our senses of smell and taste.
The good thing is that after stopping smoking for about 48-hours, the nerve endings in our nose and the taste buds in our mouth begin to repair themselves and our abilities to taste and smell begins to return. The longer we stay smoke-free, the more intensified our senses of taste and smell will grow over the coming weeks and months.
By making the switch to vaping, smokers can satisfy their cravings for nicotine without ingesting all those nasty chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes. While the e-liquids used in vaping might include a small amount of nicotine solution (e-liquid manufacturers make lots of zero-nicotine options, too), they are always 100 percent tobacco-free. This means no chemicals and no tar – a thick, gooey, almost black substance that saturates the lungs, airways, arteries, and blood vessels of the smoker’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Related Article: 4 easy ways to save money by vaping less e-liquid
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