Unless you have been living in an underground bunker for the last 30 years, it should come as no surprise to you just how bad smoking is for your health. As if premature aging, increased risk of cancer and stroke, yellow teeth, bad breath, and shortness of breath weren’t enough, if you still smoke, say goodbye to your sense of smell.
Losing Your Senses
According to statistics, smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to have a poor sense of smell. This is directly correlated to the number of cigarettes smoked—the more you puff, the more you damage your sniffer.
While this may not seem like a big deal, stop and think about how often you rely on your sense of smell in a typical day. Human beings rely on five primary senses for survival and smokers are actively damaging those. Beyond smell, smoking reduces your sense of taste and causes damage to your vision—that’s three of the five!
###Smell and Taste
In human beings, our sense of smell is very closely tied to our sense of smell. Have you ever noticed when you have a cold or are congested, and you feel like you can’t taste anything? Well, that’s because there are scent receptors that are activated when we chew, so without sent food loses part of its appeal.
But never mind food not tasting good. Not being able to detect particular smells can be downright dangerous! Individuals with a reduced sense of smell cannot detect gas, smoke, or spoiled foods as easily.
Reversing the Damage
The best way to help repair your sense of smell is to quit smoking. We know it is difficult, but the many benefits of quitting make it worth the struggle. And remember, it takes time. Once you successfully quit smoking it can take months or years for your sense of smell to return normal.
If you do not smoke and have problems with your sense of smell, contact your ENT immediately. Although problems detecting smells can be related to sinusitis and respiratory infections, it can also be a symptom of something more serious such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s.