RESEARCH PAPER
Tobacco use and chemosensory impairments among current adult tobacco users in the US: Data from NHANES 2013–2014
 
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1
Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, United States
2
University of Rochester, Rochester, United States
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Richard J. O'Connor   

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, 14263 Buffalo, NY, United States
Publish date: 2018-09-18
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(September):43
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Among US adults 40 years and older, about 23% report problems with their ability to smell, and 19% report problems with their ability to taste. Chemosenses are a first line of defence against environmental hazards (e.g. fires and leaking gas). A potential risk factor of chemosensory disorders includes nicotine product use, such as cigarette use. This study aims to assess the relationship of taste and smell alterations with type of recent nicotine product use (e.g. inhaled versus smokeless), recent cigarette use, and mentholation status based on data from NHANES 2013–2014.

Methods:
A total of 3186 men and women, 40 years and older, from NHANES 2013–2014 were assessed for smell and taste impairment, according to their recent nicotine product use. Taste impairment was identified as inability to identify quinine as bitter in the whole-mouth taste test. Impairment of smell was defined as failing to identify six or more of eight specific odors. Logistic regression models were adjusted for age, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Results:
Approximately 13% of participants failed the smell examination. No significant association between smell examination outcome and recent nicotine product use was found, though recent cigarette use showed a trend toward positive association (OR=1.66, 95% CI: 0.76–3.63) and mentholation status showed a trend toward negative association (OR=0.57, 95% CI: 0.22–1.49) on smell examination results. About 17% of participants failed the taste examination, and trends toward positive association were seen between taste examination outcomes and both recent nicotine product use (OR=1.28, 95% CI: 0.99–1.65) and recent cigarette use (OR=1.30, 95% CI: 0.50–3.40).

Conclusions:
Findings indicate that recent use of nicotine products has an inconsistent relationship to dysfunctions in taste and smell. However, limiting the use of inhaled nicotine products, such as from cigarette use, could prove beneficial to a person’s taste and smell ability.

 
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