The effects of passive smoking on olfaction in children

B. Nageris*, T. Hadar, M. C. Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of passive smoking on odor identification was studied in 10 children exposed to passive smoke at home. All had at least one parent who smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day. The control group consisted of 10 children of nonsmoking parents. Ten odorants were tested: vinegar, ammonia, peppermint, roses, bleach, vanilla, cough drops, turpentine, licorice and mothballs. Each child was presented with five test trays containing all 10 odorants in random order. Of the total of 500 odors presented, the control group correctly identified 396 (79%) and the study group, 356 (71%) (p<0.005). This work demonstrates that children exposed to passive smoke have difficulty identifying odors in comparison to children raised in relatively smoke-free environments. Since the study group tend to misidentify four of the 10 odorants tested -vanilla, roses, mothballs and cough drops- we suggest that these four odorants should suffice in testing odor identification in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-91
Number of pages3
JournalRevue de Laryngologie Otologie Rhinologie
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Odorants
  • Passive smoking
  • Smell


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