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Pleasant Smells Can Curb the Urge to Smoke

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

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Story at-a-glance -

  • Your sense of smell plays a role in modulating behavior and interpersonal relationships; smokers report a reduction in cravings after smelling pleasant odors
  • Smells, also called olfactory clues, play a significant role in your memories and in your sense of taste. Loss of smell may be one of the initial symptoms of a degenerative neurological disease
  • Your sense of smell has an impact on your psychological health and how well others are treated, potentially since odors affect the amygdala involved in emotion and the hippocampal system involved in long-term memory
  • Smoking damages your lungs, cardiovascular system and cognition; however, while vaping is perceived to be safe, it carries additional long-term dangers affecting the same systems and, if used, should be for a short time to quit smoking
  • Additional strategies to help you quit smoking are getting healthy first to support your efforts, eating a nutritionally balanced diet, exercising and finding a health emotional outlet

Smell may be your most underestimated sense. However, while you may not consciously think about it daily, your sense of smell has a significant impact on your behavior and your survival.

It wasn’t long ago scientists considered vision to be vital to survival and your sense of smell to rank last in the estimation of importance of your senses. Recent studies have shown that despite the weak number of olfactory receptors in humans compared to other species, the cortical integration of sensations in humans are large and have important connections with memory and language.


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