Smoking & Your Senses
Being a smoker comes with some substantial problems, a higher risk of developing a variety of life threatening diseases as well as cancer, not to mention the day to day downsides of the smell and skin yellowing. With all this in mind there are many reasons to make the switch from smoking to vaping. One affect that is seldom discussed is the impact that smoking has on your sense of smell and taste. Both these senses can be diminished by years of smoking, meaning that food tastes can seem dull or ward and that you are unable appreciate the most splendid of scents, even favorites including a salty ocean breeze or warmth of home baking. The move away from cigarettes and towards a healthier life style could soon mean that you can get your senses up and running again.
Smoking significantly harms your senses and limits what you can taste and smell. There are several reasons that this effect happens. Firstly, the heat from cigarette smoke is often cited as harming taste buds. The idea is that the hot smoke burns taste buds and makes them less functional. This means they that they are not receptive to the flavors that you put in your mouth and that you can no longer perceive the proper taste of anything.
Secondly your sense of smell is effected because of smoke damaging your olfactory nerves. These nerves are located at the back of your nose and transmit signals about what you are smelling to your brain. Over time these nerves become damaged and less responsive to smell. The longer you smoke the more likely it is for you to permanently damage these nerves and lose your sense of smell forever.
On top of this some of the chemicals present within smoke will also further impair your taste buds. The chemicals like tar do not permanently destroy your taste buds but they do impair the receptors ability to detect the flavors that are passing through your mouth. If you are a smoker and are experiencing these symptoms you should see your family doctor because they can pinpoint where the damage is and explain the severity of any damage.
Stopping smoking is the first step to restoring your sense of smell and taste. It is vital that you stop before the damage becomes permanent. If you stop you can normally expect to have your senses return to normal within about 48 hours. This is because the nerve endings begin to grow back after this amount time. You may experience a change in taste as a result too. Smokers tend to prefer strong tasting foodstuffs like coffee and mustard, they also prefer stronger smells to softer ones. After quitting this can be quickly overturned and subtler flavors and smells will become preferable.
Some smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes to experience what is commonly referred to as vapers tongue. Officially known as olfactory fatigue this is where you struggle to taste. It happens because your brain isn’t used to the strong senses of smell and taste that have come back after quitting smoking. Essentially your brain is overloaded by taste and smell which means it is less receptive. This will pass in a couple of days or weeks but you can speed it up by drinking more water, changing e-liquids regularly or trying strong flavors (tasting coffee grounds or using menthol e-liquid). Just don’t go back to smoking and your senses will return to a high level and you will be able to appreciate smells and tastes properly for the first time in years.
Did you experience diminished senses of taste and smell when you were a smoker? How did you find it after you switched to vaping? Share your experiences with us on our social media pages.