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AChems Press Release

Chronic smoking linked to diminished taste ability on the tongue-tip

In a nationally-representative study of U.S. adults, chronic smokers who had high cigarette dependence or a history of heavy alcohol drinking showed diminished ability to taste on the tongue-tip compared to adults who never smoked.

We examined if cigarette-smoking was related to taste function in a nationally-representative sample of US adults who participated in the 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In a taste exam, 3556 adults rated intensities of bitter and salt solutions applied to the tongue-tip and tasted with the whole-mouth. Participants also reported their smoking history and behaviors. Among adults with a history of chronic smoking, those who currently smoked a cigarette within 30 minutes of waking or had a history of heavy alcohol drinking (4 or more drinks per day) rated salt and bitter solutions on the tongue-tip as significantly weaker compared to adults who had never smoked. Diminished taste ability on the tongue-tip, possibly from taste nerve damage, could have important implications for dietary habits and nutritional status of chronic smokers. (contact Dr. Shristi Rawal; shristi.rawal@rutgers.edu; +1 860-690-8495)

The poster presentation “Associations between Chronic Cigarette Smoking and Taste Function: Results from the 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)” (#P406) takes place Thursday, 19 April, 9:00 – 11:00 pm ET in the Estero Ballroom.

Full author list: Shristi Rawal, Howard J. Hoffman, John E. Hayes, Nadia K. Byrnes, Sarah-Grace Glennon, Valerie B. Duffy