Smokers at Risk of Losing Their Ability to Smell

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 5 2008 12:58 PM

People who smoke are at an increased risk of losing their ability to smell the most common odours, say researchers.

The research team also found that second hand smokers were at an increased to developing laryngitis, leading to hoarseness, cough, and chronic clearing of the throat.

The first study led by Norwegian researchers involving 2,294 patients showed that smokers were 12 to 27 percent more likely than non-smokers to experience the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, or nose-related issues.

They suggest that quitting smoking should be a primary therapeutic measure for patients with these upper airway ailments.

The second study led by researchers from Brazil found a link between smoking and loss of smell.

The study examining 56 healthy volunteers, current and former smokers in the group had greater trouble smelling butanol, an alcohol used widely in odour testing because of its distinct and powerful smell.

The authors believe this confirms that smokers will experience altered ability to smell as they continue the habit.

In the third study revealed second-hand tobacco smoke as one of the primary causes of what the authors term "environmental laryngitis," along with allergens and air pollution.

The study led by researchers at the University of California-Davis, on animal models showed that exposure to second-hand smoke triggered laryngitis symptoms, including hoarseness, cough, and chronic clearing of the throat.

Researchers and physicians have generally attributed laryngitis to a viral infection and overuse of the voice; however, the new research has important implications to the concerns surrounding the condition.

These studies were presented at American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) annual meeting.