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Physiol Behav. 1998 Dec 1;65(3):575-9.

Olfactory thresholds for nicotine and menthol in smokers (abstinent and nonabstinent) and nonsmokers.

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  • 1School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles 90024, USA.


Nonsmokers and smokers were compared for olfactory sensitivity to two odors associated with cigarettes: nicotine and menthol. Smokers were tested twice--while nonabstinent, and after 16-20 h of smoking abstinence. Smokers showed a higher olfactory threshold for nicotine than did nonsmokers, but the same threshold for menthol. Furthermore, when the smokers were abstinent, they showed a lower olfactory threshold for nicotine than when they were nonabstinent, but again, the same threshold for menthol. These results suggest a nicotine specific olfactory deficit in smokers that is reduced during abstinence.

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