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Effect of smoking on the sense of smellFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was conducted to study the effect of smoking habits on a person's sense of smell. The science project experiment involved the participation of smokers and non-smokers using 10 different types of scents, at 3 different levels of concentration.


Smokers have a diminished ability to distinguish the intensity of scents, compared to non- smokers.

Scientific Terms

Sense of smell, olfaction, sensory cells, nasal cavity


Smoking and smell

The sense of smell is also known as olfaction. It is one of the 5 senses that we have: the others are sight, hearing, touch and taste. Odors from foods, and the scent of flowers or fruit enter our nostrils and are detected by the sensory cells located inside our nasal cavity. These cells will send signals to the brain to recognize and remember the smell.

Smoking habits are known to affect the sensitivity of the nose. People who smoke regularly have been found to be unable to recognize some odors. This condition seems to affect both young and old.

Both the sense of smell and taste are required to appreciate the flavors of the food that we eat. More of its flavor actually comes from smell, instead of its taste. Therefore, people who smoke regularly and who have a diminished ability to smell, will not be able to appreciate good and tasty foods as much as non-smokers are able to!

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found at a department store/supermarket
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