I have been experiencing the same thing for about a week or so--smell cigarette smoke when no smoke exists. Thought it was coming from the AC vent in my office but then started smelling it in car and at home. The strange thing is that when I inhale, sometimes the odor is so real I feel my eyes slightly burning as if I were sitting next to someone smoking. I am 40 yrs. old, never smoked, have been off depression meds for about 8 mos. No recent sinus infections.
Do you mean to say that there is no possibility of smoke after smell in the AC or blowers in the car and at home?
There is a possibility that the smoke is already present there. Then there is perhaps the need to get the AC cleaned out in both of these places.
However, if no on else feels that there is any smoke at these places, there might be some other trigger here which is associated with cigarette smoke which is triggering this reaction in your mind and tells your body that there is smoke when actually there is none. This may happen due to Association of one stimuli with another response.
I think you should first get these places checked for any smells and get it cleaned out, cigarette smoke may be retained in the furnishings and linen.
Thereafter we may consider any other treatment for you.
There is no smoke in the air vents or around the house. It is someting within us. You are not alone.
I understand exactly what you are going thru. I have the same exact problem. I'm going on 3 months now. Sometimes I find myself taking little shallow breaths of air to avoid the full impact of the smoke smell.
In search for some relief I had found that the carbon dioxide that we expel during our breathing cycle is definitely an immediate relief for me from the smokey smell. I find myself just raising the neck potion of the shirt or t-shirt I'm wearing right over my nose and continue to breathe normally. I do the same with the bed sheet when I go to bed. I just lay it over my nose and mouth and breathe. And even after I remove the shirt or the sheet, I am smoke free for a while. The carbon dioxide stops the smell for me. I'm going to guess that if you use a paper mask (like a dust mask), poke a few holes in it for a little exchange air, it will work just the same. It works , it really does.
This may or may not work for you as some other member found it did not work for them.
But there's more, I went to the Dr this week and very hessitantly brought the subject up if he knew what Phantosmia was. Not immediately but did not look at me like if I had 2 heads and a tail. Anyway, he asked if I suffered from acid reflux and I said yes, sometimes. He said that acid reflux does not always presents itself as a gulp of acid rushing up your throat. It can be non symptomatic. He gave me some medication and said if that did not take care of the problem he'd send me for am MRI to rule out anything serious.
And another thing. I am a Paxil user.I've been on Paxil for over 12 years I recently started to reduce the amount of Paxil that I take from 5mg a day to 5mg every other day. The smokey episodes have decresed but not totaly gone.
This happens to me all the time too ~ I feel like someone is actually sitting beside me, smoking a cigarrete right into my face. I am a non-smoker and so is the rest of my family. Sometimes the smell is so strong I feel like my chest is heavy with smoke and my eyes are a little foggy I really hate it. After reading through some blogs, I'm happy to see there are others have have experienced this so I don't feel crazy, but I'm surprised there are no one has any real answers to what this is.
I have experienced the same sensation of smelling cigarette smoke intermittently over a number of years. It generally occurs, or is enhanced, when I am tired or very sleepy. At first I attributed it to being out with people who were smoking and that there were particles lingering in the hairs in my nose, but it happens when I have not left my apartment and stayed up too late.
Nice to know I'm not the only one, but the answers offered seem to pander a bit.
This also possible because of the ability of the brain to associate different stimuli and then combine various responses to it. In your case, association with various agents in smoking, sensitized the body and therefore interaction with even one of the various components that make up the smoke may have induced this sensation of smoke around you.
Hope this will help you understand the cause of this strange sensation.
I read your post and I am a fellow smeller of smoke. I also was no Paxil for about 6 years. I recently got off it by reducing the amount over about a year. However I never expierenced the smoke thing untill I had been off of Paxil for about 3 months. I don't think it's related. I do think there must be something wrong in our nasal passages. I went to an ENT specialist today and am hoping to find some relief.
I'm smelling smoke again, for the second time. The first time it happened, I had just gotten over being sick (which affected my sinuses). I was exposed to smoke, and then couldn't stop smelling it. I did go to see an ENT, but everything checked out OK. And it ended up going away in 1-2 weeks. It's back again (I was exposed to smoke yesterday, and now it's with me constantly), and I was sick recently, but not with significant sinus-related issues. I'm assuming it will go away again in a similar time-frame. So in the meantime, some things that help for me are sucking on Halls Mentho drops and using an essential oil called Sinus Rejuvenation Oil (has peppermint and other oils) that I picked up at Whole Foods, which also seems to help. You place a drop at the edge of each nostril, and it takes the edge off the smoke smell...or helps, anyway. Good luck! You are not alone. :)
yes I was in a casino over the weekend and stayed up late for two nights in a row. I can't get the smell out of my nose it makes me sick. I tried rinsing my nose - I put neosporin with a q tip to see if it was the lining. Now I really try to just breathe through my mouth - not as bad that way! But will talk to my DR. soon.
I have been smelling it for the last week too. I recently thought I was going to have a cold but just got the smoke smell instead. I can't stand it....it's like I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes and I don't smoke. I used to smoke.... ech ech :(
I've been experiencing the smell of cigarette smoke now for 6years. It always comes across my face from the left side & always when I am relaxed ie; wathing TV or reading.My partner can never smell it , this is quite puzzling as to me it's a very very strong smell.Its intermittent from smelling cigarette smoke 2/3 days in a row or going months with nothing
I am to the point where if someone on TV is smoking the smell gets so strong I have to leave the room! If someone is smoking in a car 3 cars ahead of me I have to shut off the AC or heater in my car to keep the smell at bay. When I am away from the car I have to roll my windows down to air it out. My fried who is a smoker sat in my car for about an hour and did not smoke. But the second hand smoke smell that was on her clothes wont go away. That was a month ago. I really think my sinuses are damaged from either the de-icer that the state puts down on the roads or from what ever they have been puting in our gas since they have made it low sulfer. Perhaps removing the sulfur leaves too much unburned waste in the air.
The acrid smell I am always experiencing is more like the stale ashes in a fireplace. For the first year, I just thought it was the old house I was living in. Then I noticed I still sensed the strong smell in other's homes. Now I have moved to a different home in a different city and still have this acrid, irritating smell constantly in my nose. You guys who are seeing doctors, do post the results. I have no allergies and have never taken any antidepressants. So those are not the connections.
i recently started smelling cigerette smoke. We lit a fire in the fireplace a few weeks back, and I kept complaining that the ashes residue was killing me. I couldnt breathe. My husband cleaned it, but the odor continued. Now its constant. In my house, at work, anywhere I happen to be. My mouth feels dry, food tastes terrible, I feel sick often. I read all these posts with NO answers. Please if anyone figures this out....post it
I truly thought I was loosing it! Its nice to know im not alone
I have been smelling cigarette smoke for the past couple of months. Just recently it has gotten so bad that I have been having coughing fits and chest pains. I am in my early 30s, never smoked, am not around anyone that does, and rarely go any place where there is smoking. Never had allergies or sinus problems-perfect bill of health...except this problem! My husband thinks I should go to the doctor and check for mold infection, but don't want to waste my time if someone knows something better.
I know a person who went through that and it turned out that the skoer that lived downstairs from her was a heavy smoker and it came up through the floors, or cracks. Just a suggestion but sometimes I am sure, someone has a child who is smoking behind the parents back. Taking a puff here and there in the other room, or if it is raining out gets in the car and thinks he gets it out the window or you won't notice. Also there is truth to the fact that someone can smell things that are not there. Or something can smell like something else.
Example. I was an interior painter for 20 yrs. I had allergy to polyester but did not know that was my problem. And when I tried to use a respirator or dust mask, the poly in my mask made me breath to fast and feel light headed like I couldnt get enough air. So I didn't use anything. After 20 yrs, this messed up my sense of smell some. And now for the last 10 years, I can smell something sticky that to me smells like someone is cooking brownies. And other people all say it is nothing like that. I also mis smell other things. Ususally when it is faint. My brain must fill in the blanks or something. Crazy!
I've had the phantom smoke odor in my nose for the past month. I also had it about 2 years ago for a few months. I had no idea what was causing it. Initially I thought it was from allergies. Recently I read a post from an MD who said he was fairly certain it was a side effect from Acid Reflux. Since I've had acid reflux problems in the past (in the form of heartburn) I thought I'd try cutting out all of the acidy food/drink in my diet. So last week I stopped drinking coffee/tea in the morning and the one glass of (red) wine I usually have every evening. Wouldn't you know it! Within two days the smoke smell was gone! It's been a week now and the smell hasn't come back. It worked for me.....you might want to give it a try.
Has anyone gotten an answer from a doctor? I keep researching online and haven't found anything of what could it possibly be medically. My physical is in two months and this constant of smelling of cigarette smoke when no one else smells is is making me ill to the point of nausia, litterally interfering with my life, affecting my mood and overall mental and physical being. I keep reading post here of people having this same problem but no real answer or solution. Is thare a doctor that can post here with a real answer of what it could possibly be? With me I've had it for the past 2 year on and off. It comes for a period of 3 to maybe 6 days. Now it has gotten worse being more frequently. No one smokes around me. I smell it everywhere even in smoke free enviroments. I go nuts putting out scented candles, oils, perfumes, spray my clothing and bedding, and air to no avail. Covering the nose helps momentarily, but then I'll still smelling it after a few minutes or even seconds. It's disrupting my life. Pinch my nose while breathing through my mouth helps the most, but I can't go around like that all day long. My family thinks I'm crazy.
PLEASSSSSSSE!!!!!!! There has to be a medical reason for this and a solution.
I have experienced "cigarette-smoke-smell-where-there-isn't-any" in my nostrils. It is extremely distracting and annoying. It began several years ago, and was sporadic. It recently became constant. I do not have acid reflux. I am nowhere near smokers (I am an educator in a special education elementary school) so I know there is no real cigarette smoke. I take an anti-depressant, but I experienced the smell when I was not on anti-depressants. So, where does that leave us? Frustrated! Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you!
Thanks for allowing me to feel better. I just recently started smelling cigarette smoke constantly to. I to am a none smoker. I can be sitting in an area that is fresh as can be and start smelling it like someone is sitting next to me who just smoked, but no one is around me. What can I do? I read the one about placing menthol under the nostril. I will try anything. I can not stand the smell. It just started like a week to two weeks ago. My son does smoke and has a habit of smoking in my car with the windows down. He thinks I can not smell it, but WRONG, I can, but even when I am not in the car or not around him, I can still smell it. I to have to put my face in my shirt to get a good deep breath or take short ones. This is very annoying. Someone please find a solution or remedy.
I'm 55 year-old female, just returned from Reno, where I was in casino's and thought this smoke smell was residue from that, but am beginning to doubt that. I too have never smoked and although the odor is intermittent, it is certainly bothersome. It has only been 5 days of it and keep hoping for it to resolve.
Yes, it is strange but real. I am a physical scientist and given to questioning, reasoning, reading, researching. Other than an odd listing that connected "nasal inflammation" to a thyroid situation, I have only seen references to rhinitis (nasal infection).
Can a physician chime in? If it is an infection, do anti-biotics help? Thank you.
Wow! I just found out that I am not the only one who has this problem! I cannot remember exactly when it started- it must have come on gradually, but it has been at least 2 -3 months now that I have had the sensation of smelling cigarette smoke just about everywhere. Even in my own home where no one has ever smoked. I can go to bed, wake up during the night , or in the morning and smell it. I can smell it outside when I am out for a walk when no one else is around and even in the hospital where I work which is a smoke-free campus. It is becoming so disturbing to me as I find the smell so offensive and I am unable to detect other scents normally unless they are particularly strong. I don't know if this is important enough to contact my healthcare provider for.....?
I just started smelling cigarette smoke constantly last week. Like others, I have been looking for that hidden smoker but never finding one. I work in a convent, no smokers there. Neither my husband nor I smoke. We have no visitors who smoke. We live in a house, no attached apartments. No mater where I am, I smell it. I thought it was my clothes, or lingering in my hair, etc. But no one else smells it. I don't have acid-reflux. I do take a sleep aid, a few supplements and multivitamins. I am just entering the hot-flash stage of menopause, so maybe it's hormonal? Whatever it is, I smell the cigarette smoke, it makes my eyes burn and my throat scratchy, and it gives me a headache. I am munching wintergreen candies like crazy and using after shoewer scents to help. Threse things are only temorary at best. It would be good to kow if there is an external air quality issue being caused by the city Or if it might be hormonal.
I've been smelling smoke for several years now, and it's always triggered by being around smokers in the casino. Sometimes it lasts for a week, and sometimes as much as a month at a time. I'm going through it right now, again, and just put a little Vicks in each nostril. It only helps for a little while though. I just read what Starcrestsa said about breathing your own carbon dioxide, so I tried cupping my hand over my nose and breathing like that, and it does help.
I've mentioned this strange phenomenon to two or three doctors so far, and they all just scratch their heads and have no real answers. None that apply to me, anyway. I do take quite a few meds for high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, so who knows what kind of a witches brew is churning around in my system. I just know that the smell of smoke for more than a few minutes triggers something in my brain that doesn't go away until it's run it's course. It's a miserable thing to experience, and I feel for all of you here that suffer with the same malady.
I've had the same thing for several years. Maybe 12 or so. I too used to blame the neighbors for smoking but it wasn't them. After reading several posts here, I noticed one more common denominator...computers. I'm not sure if the fumes emanating from computers are the cause but anyone posting here is using one.
I've also noticed that any kind of smoke can set it off as well. But since I'm always using a computer, it would be hard to tell whether the cause was one or the other...
Another thing that I've noticed is that if I place pressure on my cheeks on either side of the nostrils, using my fingers, as if to widen the nose, the smell goes away. Not permanently though...only while applying pressure, but it IS consistent. I can do that right now as I've been smelling cigarette smoke for several days now. But if I apply that pressure, the smell goes away.
I often thought that maybe something like a saline rinse would help, but after reading all these post in several different threads, apparently not...
I have been smelling smoke for the past 3 days. I have never smoked in my life. Our home is a smoke free invironment. My eyes are itchy and burning.and Im short of breath. Im a quadrapolegic and I wonder it this has anything to do with the smoke smell. Can anyone offer some advice.
I'm not a doctor but I'm a teacher who works on a smoke free campus K-2 grades. I also smell smoke all the time. I am a cancer survivor, went through chemo and surgeries. About six months after the last chemo treatment in 2007,I came down with burning mouth syndrome which no doctor could diagnose but I found a medical journal article on line and brought it to my doc. No treatment for that. Then I came down with viral thyroiditis. I was hyperthyroid for a while then went into hypo over a period of months. This was between 2007 - 2009. Recently came down with a second round of the viral thyroiditis(2009), my endo doc said he'd never heard of anyone getting that more than twice and I should be ok. I'm a non smoker but have been smelling cigarette smoke constantly on and off for months, along with the burning mouth syndrome and sensitive glands in my neck my voice also gets very hoarse which I was attributing to talking all the time as a teacher. I just saw my endo and described my symptoms he said my nasal passages are enflamed but my thyroid levels are now normal, even though I still have the swollen gland issue in the neck and the burning mouth and sore throat. I found a name for what we all might have and it's dysosmia. It can be attributed to age, viral illness, disorders of the endocrine system and nutritional disorders. There's a little more info at www.myoptumhealth.com/portal/ADAM/item/Smell+-+impaired.
I would also love to see an MD post something on here with an answer. I do use a nasal rinse and veramyst, I think I'm going to try cutting out the veramyst for a while to see if that makes a difference.
BTW I'm never around anyone who smokes either.
I believe the connection is the thyroid and possibly chronic fatigue syndrome, a.k.a. Epstein Barr which I've also had and there is no real diagnosis to hang your hat on for either of the last two, according to my endo doc.
Wow this is a first for me! I just started to smell cigarette/cigar smells a couple of days ago. Its is sooo annoying thats why I looked it up. OOOh I smell it strong right now! I have suffered from acid reflux in the past, never any meds & post menopausal! I just tried pushing down on the side of my nose as posted above and it does help, but when you let go it comes back. Could it be an allergy to a certain food? I eat well vegetarian, organic and take vitamins. But the body can turn on its self. One thing I learned, you are never alone. I never thought someone else would have this problem.
I am not an alien from another planet!! TY all for your post. The smell can drive me nutty sometimes. Putting all your info together a lot of ideas have been formed in my mind for me to tackle. I DO have many health issues, unfortunatly. I have Chronic Fatigue & Chronic Pain which is controlled by prescription meds. from my MD. I do have post nasal problems, sinus problems and acid reflux. I have hypothyroid & being female, menopausal. My glands are swollen and tender. I have chronic constipation. I do have a sore in my nose that has lasted 20 years. Some will say that I am crazy for putting up with a sore for that long but with all my other issues this is minor. I really am going to work on the THYROID issue first as I have found many health problems stem from the thyroid. The reflux idea really sound fesable, and will continue to work on my sinuses. I would also ask if any one has been treated by a MD, please post results.
I have been smelling phantom cigarette smoke for over a year. It lasts for a weeks then goes away for a couple of days.... but it always returns. I am overtired for sure. I have three children, 16 weeks, 3 and 5 years old. My husband never smells the smoke.... I always ask him...I had horrible heart burn during pregnancy - but i really don't think that has anything to do with it - cause i don't have heartburn now.. Stress seems to make more sense but i would love to hear a doctor weigh in...... I'm surprised I can't find more medical reasons..
Here is the complete link: http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/blog/dysosmia-causes-and-treatment.html
Here is a portion of the link:
Dysosmia is an olfactory ailment, that is, a disorder relating to the sense of smell. In this condition, the patient suffers from a distorted sense of smell and may smell a foul odor when there is actually no bad smell in the immediate environment. Though not a life-threatening ailment, dysosmia may also lead to problems relating to the sense of taste, as the nasal and oral chambers are interconnected. This may produce difficulties for the patient not only in identifying and distinguishing between pleasant and unpleasant odors but also in discriminating between foods and drinks that taste good from those that do not. As a result, the patient may lose his/her normal enjoyment of food; may suffer from a loss of appetite and feel depressed. The reason behind this ailment may be damage caused to the olfactory bulbs by an accidental injury to the nose or the head or because of surgery. Infection of the nasal sinuses and nasal polyps may also lead to this condition. Structural defects like a deviation in the sputum and the abnormal thinning or thickening of the mucus membrane inside the nose may also lead to irregularities in the sense of smell. Exposure to toxic substances like lead and the harmful chemicals present in insecticides, as well as to radiation may also cause damage to the olfactory system. In more serious cases, epileptic seizures and disorders relating to the brain-stem cells may also cause olfactory hallucinations. Psychological ailments such as schizophrenia sometimes produce side-effects like dysosmia. Those who have recently quit smoking or drinking alcohol sometimes also complain of the symptoms of dysosmia.
I also have been suffering from smelling cigarette smoke for over a week. I just read a lot of the postings and tried the cough drop. Seems to help, opened my nasal passages and the menthol helps with the cigarette taste in my mouth. I thought it was my imagination, but I think it may be physical, ie: thyroid or olfactory issues.
Mine started this past Sunday. I don't smoke, not around it and none of my family smokes. I keep smelling old cigarette smoke and outside smoke smells mixed together, if that makes sense. It is making me sick to my stomach and i'm getting headaches. What can I do???? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!!!!
Where do you all live? I am in New Zealand. I live in a very clean unpolluted environment. I used to smoke - 4 years ago - best thing I did giving up - but I must say I can echo so many of the comments . I've told health professionals about this intermittent acrid smell of smoke up my nostrils and they just shake their heads. I have thought I'm going mad!
I'm so glad I'm not on my own. Does anything help?
I have complained of this smokey smell for years, and have never found any one else with this problem. I have chronic Lyme disease, acid reflux and sinus problems. Must be a connection there. It helps to know that I am not the only one!
It started for me after I stayed a week with my mom, who is a smoker. I noticed I was smelling smoke and thought maybe I had just become more sensitive to it, but then I smelled it in my car and house. I don't smoke, and neither do any of my friends.
Sometimes I smell it so much and if feels so real that I kind of choke or feel my throat spasm or close for a second. I hate it and it gives me a head ache! I'm not sure if the headache is in my head or not (ha ha, no pun intended).
It does get worse when I'm around a smoker, and when I breathe in my shirt it stops then, but only lasts while I'm breathing in my shirt. If I breathe through my mouth it's the same as through my nose.
I even wondered if there was something wrong with the cillia in my lungs?
I would really like to know what's up with me! Although, it makes me feel a lot better knowing I'm not alone!
While I'm glad that I'm not a freak. I am so annoyed by the recent cigarette smell in my nose. I also taste it on my lips. I am not around smoking of any type and I hate it. I'm scheduled to have major surgery in two weeks and I was curious to see if this is a symptom of something serious that I shoudl explore before surgery.
I am grateful for this forum. I have suffered from the phantom cigarette smoke smell syndrome for years. I have never smoked and cannot tolerate the smell at all. I've always had a very keen sense of smell. I'm usually the first one to smell the faintest of smells which has always annoyed my sister. So, I always attributed this problem to my keen sense of smell. As I got older, I'm now 41, I thought maybe it was a lack of exercise or not taking in enough water; the smell would sometimes go away after a brisk walk. I am relatively healthy, no major health issues other than a thyroid problem. After reading through this entire blog, I am convinced it has something to do with my hypothyroidism, or fatigue, or my recent diagnosis of Vitamin D deficiency and my thyroid levels are off right now too, not sure if there is a correlation (I just recently went vegan but added fish back to my diet to improve my vitamin D level), or a combination of all. I do computer work and work from home, so I'm constantly online for work and pleasure all hours of the day and night, so I'm often exhausted. I'm currently suffering from the worse bought of this cigarette smell I've ever experienced. So much that I almost went to the ER earlier this morning as I could not get a fresh breath of air unless I covered my mouth and nose with my shirt or bed sheets and I couldn't sleep. Because I thought I was the only one experiencing this, no one in my circle has ever experienced this; I never thought to search the internet until now. Thank you all...especially cabal for the most definitive answer to this mystery and a website!
It's been over a week now I smell what smells like a dirty ash tray, My family don't smoke, We've lived here for 8 yrs, I don't have Sinus issues, although my ears do pop from time to time. I don't necessarily believe in ghost however I did see a few things in a two day span that I can not explain. I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this smell, It's starting to annoy me. I am so surprised on how many people share the same problem. I've read stories like, Ghost, Sinus, or Smelling disease in your own body. Dr's will diagnose you as having Sinus or Allergy issues but what happenes when you've taken anitbiotics and keep smelling the cigarette smell. I'm going out of my mind with this smell, I even had a talk with this smoke like annoyance, I told it to leave you poochy smelly thang you.. LOL
I have been having this sensation now for a couple of years. It first started with my smelling smoke and walking through the house looking for the source. My husband was unable to smell it. This sensation came and went a few times. In the past year, I have had the sensation in my home, outside, and driving in my car. If I place my hand or fabric over my nose and mouth, it goes away. For the past week, it has been constant and is so severe that I feel like someone is blowing smoke in my face. I have difficulty breathing and am coughing constantly now. I am absolutely miserable and feel like I'm smothering in a smoky room, even though there is no smoke. We have central air, I drive with AC on in the car with inside air circulating. I do have fibromyalgia and asthma. I seldom need an inhaler. Even when I use the inhaler, it does not help with this sensation of trying to breathe in a smoke filled room. Its making me crazy. Haven't spoken to an MD about it yet. I am a psychiartic therapist, and do understand that the brain can play tricks on us, but the problems with my throat and lungs and this chronic cough are not imagined. I live in the country, no one smokes inside or outside my house. I smoked about 26 years ago, but haven't touched one since. This event also began a few months after a former foster son of ours, moved back to our home town to be close to us and was murdered 3 months later. He did smoke, even though I discouraged it and he was not allowed to smoke in our home. I'm sure its a coincidence, but it is still a little disturbing.
After feeling overwhelmed by this, and having so much difficulty breathing, I was willing to try anything to get some relief. I remembered seeing people put what appeared to be Vicks Vapor Rub at the opening of their nostrils when dealing with dead bodies that were decomposing. I remembered we had some in our bathroom cabinet. I placed a little dab just at the opening of each nostril and it appears to be helping. It is masking the cigarette smell and has made breathing much easier. So, if you need some relief and don't find Vicks too unpleasant, you might want to give it a try. Good Luck!
It's interesting to know others have the same symptoms. I thought I was alone, especially when everyone around did not know what I was talking about, including doctors. I do too suffer from the smell of "phantom smoke" as I describe it it is more of a wet, stale ash odor. For me it started when I had to have my thyroid burned through iodine radiation. I had hyperthyroiditis for two years and docs could not control it with meds. So I decided to do the radiation treatment. The radiation treatment consisted of taking a radiation pill and they told me I had to stay away from human contact for one whole week. And, so I did. I stayed at a hotel by myself the whole time and after the first day I started smelling smoke. I thought it was the room and complaint so they got me another room. I moved to the opposite side of the hotel and I smelled it there too. I then thought was something related to the radiation treatment. It was awful. The smell continued for two weeks. Then went away. I had sore throats on and off for a year after the radiation treatment. When I asked the doctor he said he had never heard about any symptoms like these and it could be allergies, post nassal drip. It's been two years and now the smell has come back. I've had it for about two days now and it won't go away.
My thoughts: I think it is related to thyroid and damaged nassal and throat passages from the radiation or thyroid condition. I sporadically have acid reflux but would not consider it major or chronic. I work with computers every day (don't think it is related). I think I mis smell odors especially if they are faint. I have been tired lately so it could be related as well.
I will be removing all acidic foods from diet to take care of the acid reflux just in case and start with that. Then after take care of allergies and keep removing all possibilities and see what works. Hopefully the combination will result in improvement. I don't think I can handle this much longer. yuck!
If anyone comes across a good diagnosis please post! Thanks.
I too am a phantom smoke smeller. Guess I'll just join the club. I do believe mine was caused by taking the antibiotic Doxycycline. I completely lost my sense of taste and smell. Now that is is slowly coming back after 8 months, a lot of the things I smell are distorted. I also smell the smoke that just isn't there. Coffee doesn't even smell good to me anymore.
I am 43 years old and live on a 68acre farm with my family and none of us smoke. A month ago I lit a fire to burn some rubbish and ever since that day I smell smoke all the time. It is so strong at times it even burns my eyes. I am very healthy and I don't take any regular medication. There is no chance that there is anyone smoking around me so I know it's not real. I smell it in my car, when I'm in bed and most places I go. I work in a preschool and I even smell it there. It seems that in my case and a lot of other cases I have read an initial exposure to real smoke is what triggers it. I mentioned it to my doctor and he said it was possibly stress related but I don't feel stressed at all. I hope someone finds an answer soon.
Wow, this is great to know I'm not the only crazy person smelling non-existent smoke! It started a couple of days ago when I was driving, and a man in the car in front of me was smoking. I haven't stopped smelling it since. I am a former smoker who quit 2 years ago. The smell of cigarettes is gross to me now. It took 6 months after quitting to feel that way. I smell it constantly now. I'm starting to think maybe that man wasn't even smoking in the car in front of me, it's just the time when I started smelling it. It smells more like stale smoke from an ashtray that just had cigarettes put out in it. I tried the Vicks in the nose trick, and that helps me to sleep at night. It's just driving me crazy! No one in my family can smell it. I am wondering if there really IS smoke in the air all around us, and maybe I am about to lose my sight or something, so my sense of smell is gearing up! Or, do I have a brain tumor pressing on some part of my brain that controls my senses? My husband thinks there is a ghost hanging around with me that smokes! Ok, and they say I am the crazy one! I do have hypothyroidism, but it is totally under control on Synthroid. I did have acid reflux, and stopped taking prilosec for it a few weeks ago. I'm going to try the prilosec again. It just needs to stop already!
Finally, someone with some real answers and not just another story.
I too have ALL the same complaints here. I went to an ENT in Beverly Hills recently. Had a CT scan that did show fluid in my sinus cavities from a recent serious sinus infection. Was put on steroids for a week and went back with no improvement. Next step was an MRI to rule out a tumor or growth in my brain. They also were paying special attention to the olfactory nerves. FINALLY.....after they shot the contrast through the image showed the olfactory nerves are damaged badly. The damage was from the sinus infection a month earlier. Sadly, I was told that they may or may not repair them selves and rejuvenate. It's just going to be a waiting game. Meanwhile I'm becoming extremely depressed as the smell is making me literally crazy and I'm also facing a $700 bill for the MRI (no insurance). I'm ready to jump off a cliff. Hope my info helps...
What causes olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia)?
from Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
Many people are sensitive to certain smells, but in an olfactory hallucination (phantosmia), you detect smells that aren't really present in your environment.
The odors detected in phantosmia vary from person to person and may be foul or pleasant. They can occur in one or both nostrils and usually can't be masked by food.
Phantosmia most often occurs as a result of a head injury or upper respiratory infection. It can also be caused by temporal lobe seizures, sinusitis, brain tumors, migraine, Parkinson's disease and stroke.
Because phantosmia can be an indication of a serious illness, consult your doctor if you experience such symptoms.
Note that phantosmia is different from another disorder of sense of smell, known as parosmia, in which a smell is present in your environment but is distorted. Parosmia can occur with damage to the olfactory system, such as after a severe respiratory infection. In this situation, there's usually also a loss of sense of smell.
I have the same problem that you have. I had a severe pneumoni early this year and asthma out of control. It took me 5 months to recover. I smell constantly cigarette smoke everywhere. Nobody smoke in my home.! It does drive me crazy also! I will see my lungs doctor sometimes this months and will tell him!It is very weird to smell cigarette smoke......
I am a healthy 58 yr old female, who has been smelling phantom smoke for a few years. Like others here, when i'm smelling this smoke, others around me do not. The smell stays in my nose wherever I go. i noticed a few years ago, that the smell came after i would be at the casino for a few hours. Our casinos here, in British Columbia are all non-smoking environments, so i ruled out that. I tend to have a weakness for the casino, and i'm wondering if this 'smell' is like an addictive response or something like that. Any thoughts you have would be most appreciative.
I also have this smell of cigarette smoke that is with me often when just sitting and working or resting. Ok so I am thinking this is crazy..going on for about 2-3 months..and just waiting for it to end...Thankfully I found this forum and am not alone.
I rarely have this at night and never does it bother me when eating (thankfully)..but I do have many of the symptoms that seem common amongst our group here..1. acid reflux, 2. former paxil / zoloft user, 3. former smoker (20 yrs ago) , 4. super sensitive sense of smell..so some of these seem to add up for me as common issues....
I also found a website with a great medical definition of this issue (dysosmia, or phantosmia) that would be a good site to direct your doctor to if they are not familiar with this disorder that in Dr. lingo is a.k.a 'distortion of olfactory perception' that we are all describing: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/7/611.full (thanks to cabal for the post it really helped me.)
I am going to try the ideas from Smokeless_in_Seattle..which I think are great...I would love to know how things are going for you if you happen to read this which is about 2 years since you wrote you resolved the issue.
Also - a little tip that seems to help..I have a small fan and a small deionizing type air purifier on my desk at work pointing at me while these are on and I have little to no smoke smell...
Good luck all, lets keep in touch here to see what works, what doesn't and what are the common denominators of our issues.
I have also had phantom smoke smell for about 2 years. At first, I thought it was residual from the fireplace, campfire, or being around my siblings. I have never been a smoker, but all of my 6 siblings are. I am on a cholesteral med - Niaspan, and take some vitamins. I suffer from mild acid reflux, which up until recently I took tums for. Now I have started aciphex. I did have surgery 2 years ago for gall bladder removal, and wonder if it could be related. It was shortly after that the smoke smell first appeared. For me, it comes and goes. If I put my shirt over my nose, it goes away. If I eat, it goes away, temporarily. It's the oddest thing. My taste buds have changed. I used to love chocolate, and now really don't enjoy it (not a bad thing, right?) I have not told the doctor about it, but plan to next time I am there :)
I found this online discussion because I had done a Google search for "I always smell smoke," and this website link popped up.
I didn't think anyone in the world would understand how I smell smoke when there is no smoke anywhere to be smelled. Different rooms. Different places. Different times of day. Right now, I am on the bed watching a tennis match and surfing on my MacBook Pro. I smell smoke. It isn't so much what I would call the odor of cigarette smoke that I smell... it is that there is that "sting" of smoke the enters my nose. My eyes are sensitive to it. When I open my mouth and breathe in, it is like inhaling smoke. I just don't understand it.
I do not take an antidepressant. I do take a few medications. I do NOT smoke medical marijuana! (haha!) I just have no clue why this happens. I can be sitting on the couch watching television, and I smell the smoke. I mention it, and my loved one does not smell it at all. I am totally confused.
I started worrying about Spontaneous Human Combustion... yes, I have an active imagination, and that has always fascinated me. I have even felt around to see if I feel warm anywhere. I am not sure what to do about this... but this online discussion has given me the courage to mention it to my doctor. Thank you.
I too had the symptom of smelling smoke for about eight months. I swore it was the nasal flu vaccine that my doctor gave me. Quite by accident I found the cause and hopefully this will help others as well.
I used to drink a glass of wine with dinner and one week I caught a bad cold and had no desire to drink wine. After getting over my cold it was about another week that I had not had any wine and I realized that the smell of smoke had dissapeared. Just to make sure, I had a glass of wine a couple of nights and sure enough the smell of smoke returned.
Red wine seems to be worse than white, but I find even white causes the symptoms, but to a lesser degree. If you are having the same symptoms, but don't drink wine, I would suggest trying to figure out what could be in the food you are eating that is also in wine. Maybe sulfites or maybe just because the wine is aged in a wood barrel.
Not even sure if it is all wine or just some. I did see a show once about how whiskey was made and I remember one of the distillers purposely burned the inside of their barrels to give the whiskey a distinct taste, maybe some of the wineries treat there barrels with something, just a guess. Hope this helps.
I just started smelling a cigarette smoke scent about a week ago only while breathing in and I smell it inside my nostrils and also in my mouth if I breathe through my mouth alsmost like I'm breathing second hand smoke ( I do not smoke and no one around me does either, ever!. I also have a slight bitter almost burning sensation in my mouth when I smell this smoke odor. When I wake up in the morning it's not there for a while then it will come on after being up for an hour or two and if I eat breakfast it comes on right away while I'm eating, it also gets worse while I'm eating supper or lunch. One thing I noticed is that if I cover my nose and mouth with my T shirt and breath inside the T sirt the smell is not there, also if I breath while covering my mouth and nose with my hands it is gone but comes right back after I remove my hands or T shirt from my nose/mouth. I do have sinusitus but had it off and on most of my adult life (I'm male 54 years old) but never had this problem before along with sinus issues. My girlfriend had this same problem and it lasted for about a month and has never come back in 2 years. This horrible and I can't imagine having to live with this everyday for years. Wish there was some for this.
Wow! It really helps to know that I am not insane! I am constantly telling everyone around me if they smell the cigarette smoke, too. Considering that I work in an elementary school, there is obviously no one smoking! I googled the question "why do I smell cigarette smoke everywhere?" and it led me to this! I hate the smell! I can taste it in my throat and I even get a headache from the smell!
Wow so glad to read this. I stopped complaining about the smoke smell cos ppl were starting to look at me like i was nuts - and this was after 3 days!. So i really feel for u guys who have had it for 2 or more yrs. I am a 48 yo pre-menopausal woman, well just. The things that apply to me that u guys here have been saying are:
Hyperthyroidism, gastric reflux, sinusitis, asthma, overworked n overstressed, too little sleep and the love of red wine.
I have juz finished my studies so will have less stress and so more sleep from now on. I can tell by certain symptoms that my thyroid is having a bit of a hissy fit so will have that checked out and will cut out the wine.
I read here about placing pressure with ur fingers either side of ur nose. it certainly helps for a few minutes which still makes me think its sinus related. I also started using Neilmed sinus rinse recommended by my pharmacist. This helps for around an hour.
Will mention phantosmia and dyosmia to my Dr
Anyone have anything new to add??
A real cure perhaps?
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your wanting to help. For me, though, I only drink very rarely, and I rarely, if ever, drink red wine. It has been years. So, that isn't my problem. I wish it were. I would not find wine a hard thing to give up. (smile)
I am non smoker, for years i lived w/ smokers. But 8 years ago when I got pregnant, I can not stand the smell, it bothers my lungs, nose and life in general..I have tried many asthma and allergy meds.... is there any help for me!!!!!
by, i need help
I am 60 years old and male. I have notice this constant smell which to me is like entering into a room or a car where someone has previously smoked. ie stale tobacco. I dont smoke nor does anyone in my family. I did like an odd cigar quite a few years ago and did smoke cigarettes to a small amount in my youth. I have the smell again today and smelt my sweatshirt to see if some obscure reason the smell came from there but of course it didnt. i am semi retired and use my laptop for many hours in the day so I wonder if this is where the smell is coming from. But then I can smell it in other rooms in the house so perhaps this is not the cause. Ionly have the occasional glass of beer or glass of white wine so I dont think that that is a factor. When I am out and about in the garden for eg I am not aware of this smell. I am very healthy with no problems that I am aware of - hayfever in the Spring and a little excema but thats all. If I am near to someone smoking it generally doesnt bother me but the smell that I have is a stale tobacco smell which is unpleasant. Normally with smell that are real you can 'home in' on it to identify the cause which makes me think that this smell is more psychological than real - although it 'appears' very real to me. When I cup my hands I cant smell it. The smell to me is always STALE cigarette not just cigarette - is this the same for others I wonder? I seriously did not expect to find any others with this problem when I googled it - and I have been amazed that so many people have it. I am going to try less time on my laptop and more time keeping busy including more outdoor time - and try to convince myself that it isnt really there - mind over matter!
That acrid smell that is like burned ashes in a fireplace is acid reflux! I had the same thing and thought if it wasn't from ashes from our fireplace than maybe it was from defective paint after our house had recently been painted. But when the smell persisted no matter where I went I obviously realized it was coming from me - and ultimately, I was correct!
Once I took acid reflux meds, the smell went away.
"This is unbelievable because I have been experiencing this for over a week now and my husband thinks ive officially went off the deep end ha! Really nice to hear theres soooo many with the same issue although im not sure where to go from here now. Deal with it and hope it goes away or tell my doc and have her look at me like my husband does. hmmm
I finally did a search on why I smell cigarette smoke and I don't smoke nor am I around cigarette smoke and this is what I came up with. So glad to find out that I am not the only one. I will bring this to my doctors action & I will keep searching for an answer
I can not believe something came up when I finally decided to google this. I thought I was absolutely nuts! I didn't find answers, but I did find out that I'm not alone and maybe I don't need to be admitted to the psych ward.
I thought it was just me going crazy. I started smelling smoke about a month ago. I thought it was my neighbor. I can't even sleep at night. It's not my neighbor. I smell it constantly now. It's driving me crazy. I don't take any meds, never have. I have not been sick w/ a cold or anything. I am anemic if anything. We are non-smokers in our home. It seems as if there is someone smoking right next to me and the smoke burns my eyes and even makes them watery. Help!!! It's so bad now, I'm getting stressed out and unable to sleep.
I started having optic migraines about 2 yrs ago, they were infrequent and painless but annoying enough to render me blind for a good 30 mins.
Last year, I noticed that I was smelling smoke more than usual, then realized that I was smelling smoke when there was no one around smoking.
Now, I have periods of nausea. I'm nauseas on plane rides and cr rides. I get nauseas if I look up at the sky. I know I should go to my doctor ad get a CT scan, but it is so scary. I'm afraid the diagnosis will come back-brain tumor.
I am so glad I did a search on this issue as I am relieved to see I am not the only one who constantly smells smoke. It is very annoying and I hate the smell. Thought I was smelling it because my son smokes and the neighbor sits outside smoking cigars, which have a totally different smell. It actually burns my nose like it is real smoke! At least I know I am still a little sane.
Thanks to all who have posted!! Maybe one day there will be a post as to why this is happening to us.
Wow..I had a feeling I wasn't the only one with this problem (constantly smelling cigarette smoke when there isn't any) and FINALLY got around googling it. So what's the answer? I KNOW I have sinus issues, as I have sinus pressure quite a bit. I use the Neti Pot once or twice a week. When my sinus pressure gets too much I use it 3 or 4 times in a row. Then I get lazy and don't use it and sure enough the sinus pressure comes back. I don't know that the smoke issue corresponds exactly to the sinus issue but I think it's close and probably the cause.
So is it allergies? Probably.
But I just don't want to go through the huge amount of testing required to figure it out.
Thankfully I am not alone! I was at someone's house just a couple of days ago and started smelling the smoke. The lady told me she had just bought the house and the prior owner had smoked heavily. After I got home, I could still smell the smoke and changed my clothes and took a shower. Well, it is Monday and I still smell the smoke. I have tried a saline rinse and nothing helps.
I am a reasonably healthy 49 year old guy. I have never taken any sort of medication other than the occasional tylenol. I recently had a sore throat, but don't think that has anything to do with it. Here I sit at my computer, and it smells like I am sitting in a smoky bar. The only thing I can think that ties us all together is computer use, but I use a laptop and a Ipad, so that doesn't seem like a tie. I have heard that folks who have this condition can have brain cancer. I don't know. I don't have the money to go the doctor to figure this out. So I will just have to "wait and see".
Adding to the thread here, not replying to anyone in particular. Probably differerent situations for different people, but.... I just started going crazy about a month ago smelling smoke in my condo (which I rent) and which has one common wall with another unit. Could not figure out where it was coming from. Sometimes a light wispy smell, like someone outside was smoking and a bit wafted in, at other times a dark smell of tobacco like from a cigar or pipe. I quit smoking about a year ago and am very sensitive to smoke now. I noticed a post earlier by someone who thought they could smell smoke from a another car while driving when the other car is some distance ahead. Well I certainly can. Usually I'm able to spot the car if I speed up. No phantom there. Same with smoke drifting into my home. I have a neighbor who has kids come to visit sometimes and smell their smoke from an outside patio. I can see them sometimes, sometimes not. In those situations the smoke clears rather quickly and if I open a few doors I can tell which direction the smoke was coming from. But now I figured it was from my new neighbors of about two months with whom I share a wall. After I woke up a few days in a row with light lung congestion, I phoned the property manager a told her I was not likely to renew my lease if the smoke problem continued. I then spoke to my neighbor and politely asked if one of them smoked. To my surprise they said no, and they never had. A squeeky clean cut couple from the midwest with immaculate furnishings in their place. I've not been in their place by I could tell by all the sub-contractors attending to the place. Long story short, I tend to go with the obvious unless proven wrong. Somebody's lying and it aint me. When this smoke smell starts, I can't pinpoint it to any room. It seems to be pervasive. When I open a door, the air outside smells better then the air inside. There were previous residents here who smoked, but I'd lived here for a year without smelling a thing. So another explanation could be that smoke infested walls or floors could be releasing toxins after a good while when weather conditions are right or something, but it seems unlikely. Not against the possibility that my brain is playing tricks on me, but given my extreme propensity to smell the slightest smoke from aftar, I kind of doubt it. Guess I'm posting because I really like this place, don't want to move and am looking for suggestions. Good luck y'all.
I see this is a not so rare condition as the posts go back to 2008. I live with a roommate and she smokes, outside most of the time, but when I am not home I am sure she does it indoors, and sometimes she asks if she could quickly have a puff as it may be too cold out, I tell her in her room please. So at least I know who the culprit is. My dilemma is that I started smelling the smoke even when I left my house. I can be at work, at my parents, anywhere and I smell it. Maybe it is on my clothes? OK so it is, my question is how dangerous could this be and am I in danger of contracting some illness due to this? Sometimes I wonder if there is a device to measure the amount of nicotine in the air, just as there is something for carbon monoxide, to determine if there is something to be done and not just put up with the smell. Funny one of the earlier posts mentioned the person pulling his/her Tshirt over her nose, I do the same a home, especially watching TV that is where the smell is the strongest. Any comments will be appreciated.
I used to smoke. I quit several times. I finally quit Feb 3, 2009. I was also in the AF.
I quit the first time for one year at the end of May 06. I quit because my daughter was to soon be born. As soon as I quit, I began to have problems. I, too, thought the smell came from my AC vents. I also developed a metallic taste. The smokey smell was a burnt, chalky smell. Burnt carbon. I smoked again a year later. I smoked for about 2 more years with the chalky smell, at times real strong and at times a bit subsided. I should mention, I have lost ALL of my sense of smell. Though some would call it a blessing, I couldn't smell my baby's diapers. It wasn't until about the summer of '10 I found out I had hypothyroidism. I worked out on P90X and lost 30 pounds. After a hard 1 hour workout, I could briefly smell. Coffee is my last bad habit, and I don't drink alcohol either, nor do I have the desire. So, hopefully it's a proper mixture of diet and exercise. I used to have really bad allergies seasonally. Strangely, that has reduced greatly over the past 2-3 years.
Thank goodness that I have found this post, I can not believe it. I have been smelling a horrible smoke and ash smell that seems to be coming right out from my nose and it is really making me sick. I thought that it was coming from our base-board heat and that it needed a cleaning. My poor husband could not understand what I was smelling because he had said that he had cleaned out all the base-boards before he had turned the heat on for the winter. Now, as I have read a lot of comments, I do eat a lot of garlic but do not get heartburn, but it may affect my nose and cause that ashy smell. And, I do have the start of a thyroid issue, have not started up with any meds. just yet. Also, I noticed that when I would eat Chipotle, I would smell that smoke and ash smell, so I am thinking that it may very well be from spicy food. It sounds as if we could have acid reflux in our nose and that is why we experience that horrible, horrible acrid smell. I thank each and everyone of you. I thought that I was going nuts. I will def. try a heartburn med. I think that, that may work. TY all
We went to an event two nights ago and I thought I was still smelling it from then. I took another shower last night thinking it was in my hair, but I still smell it. Nobody else in my house smells it. My neighbors are not smokers, nor is anyone else in my house. I have never smoked. I hate it and can smell it a mile away but ever since our event, I can't shake the smell!! It keeps me up at night! I've tried cleaning my nasal passages out, having other smells to try to drown it out and nothing works!! I hope it goes away. Its worse today, it was just in my nose but now in my chest. I can taste it! Grosses me out!!
I have had this problem off and on for five years. It started in a house I was renting and I asked the landlord if anyone every lived there that smoked. She said an elderly lady that lived there for years and died in the house smoked. The smoke smell began to follow me places.Now it is so strong and it is centered around my husband whom I feel has ill health. Neither of us have ever smoked. I am convinced that it is a supernatural thing. He never smells it and he thinks I am crazy. Sometimes it is in my car when I get in. Maybe a good psychic could fingure this one out.
I am 15 and have been experiencing the smell of cigarettes, while it seems the source is absent, on and off for three years now. Recently it has become more frequent. I have researched it and found that it could be a recurring sinus infection, a tumor of the brain, the olfactory nerve malfunctioning. or a symptom of stroke, epilepsy. or seizure. I have yet to contact an ENT or physician on the problem, but I plan on visiting one soon. I will most likely get a CT scan to make sure it isn't a brain tumor. I will post the diagnosis as soon as I get it.
I went to a neurologist for my cigarette smoke smell. I had two EEGs done and I have "seizure activity". He put me on Tegretol and the smoke smell, at first, went away...now I am smelling it again. I am not quite sure that was the cure. I may be going to an ENT soon.
I was wondering if any of you that smell this non-existent smoke have diabetes. My Doctor said “It is likely a manifestation of peripheral neuropathy and nothing has been shown to be effective for that.”
Anyone have a comment on that?
Did you ever find out what could be causing the problem? I suffer from the same thing and it gets so bad that I feel nauseous from it. For me the smell occurs in the car, at work and in the house but if I go outside I am ok. Strange but it is driving me crazy.
I am so glad I found this link. Thought I was going nuts but finally googled it and was surprised at how many people experience this. I started smelling cigarette smoke about 2 weeks ago. Was mild at first but for the past week it has been very strong and accompanied with my eyes burning. It is so bad that it is hard to concentrate at work. I haven't been in a smoke filled environment in years.
I do have hypothyroidism but have been on synthroid for over 10 years and have never experienced this. I also take antidepressants but have been on them for 6 years and everything is stable. I have worn contact lenses for 25 years and never experienced a burning sensation like this.
I am not going to mess around with this and am making an appointment with my primary care physician and going from there. I want to rule out the more serious conditions that can cause this.
I have lost my sense of smell but now I'm smelling cigarette, all the time. Also, what can I do to get my sense of smell back, it's been over a year since I can't smell. I have went to the nose doctors and they want a fortune to help me, is there any way to get a simpler or cheaper help.
I too saw the MD.'s reference to acid reflux and the possible connection to the smell of phantom smoke. We do not smoke in our home either nor are we smokers. I am the only one who can smell this constant disgusting smell of stale cigarette smoke. My family thinks Im nuts..lol.If anything, this smell is Driving me nuts.I read that you tried out his advice which worked for you. Because of your success in ridding the smoke smell thru changing you coffee and wine habits, I too would like to giveit a try. I don't drink alcohol, but enjoy my coffee each day and sometimes tea, AND, I too suffer from acid reflux. Perhaps if I make that one change, I too will be free from this smell that almost sickens me at times. I'm glad it worked for you. Wish me luck in :-)
I've had the "smell" for three years off and on. Didn't have it at all from March to September this year, but it has kicked back in. No idea why. Does seem to be more present in winter, when I'm exposed to more moulds and dust indoors. Initially I thought it was an allergic response to pecans, which I used to pour onto my breakfast. Could also be almonds. It may be a nut thing, but I don't think so. I describe the smell as burnt coffee and cigar stub in a barnyard. Very earthy. I've also wondered if it isn't a systemic fungal infection. I'm otherwise ridiculously fit and healthy at 42. Run triathlons, climb 6000m peaks on vacations, etc. Minimal processed food. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies. A nurse-friend told me that there are people who can "smell" cancer. That scared me, but the descriptions of what that "smell" is didn't match this smell. I'm still at a loss. I don't think it's coffee, though. I do drink strong dark coffee every morning, but I didn't at the time it started. That was during an 18 month period when I was drinking green tea. It's a weird/frightening thing, but glad I'm not alone or necessarily insane.
wow this is weird i cant believe that there are other people with the same problem. i just put this in the internet to see what would it say and to my surprise i see i am not along. it is driving me crazy for about a week now and i was thinking it was my downstairs neighbor but he moved and then i realize it wasn't him. i need help so bad have to get help cant take it much longer. it will be alot easier for me to talk to my doctor about it now that i see that it is something that others have also. thank you all for writing your post i feel i have an answer. hope everybody be able to get some relief.
I thought I was losing the plot! I have been smelling cigarette smoke for about 2 weeks. I had a cold way back in July last year and since then I have sounded very blocked up (like I still have a cold). Over time I have lost my sense of smell and taste (I used to have a very sensitive sense of smell). Now I have started smelling smoke. I thought my sinuses were just still inflamed from the cold. I take an antihistamine daily, sinus rinse twice daily and use a steroidal nasal spray. I do have good moments where I can smell, but mostly I can't. I am really missing it!! I do take medication for reflux and also for hyperprolacinaemia, but I have been taking those for over 5 years and everything has been fine. I am 46 years old and otherwise healthy.
I have suffered with this for almost 2 years now. I thought I was going crazy and my PCP intimated that I may have some mental health issues!!
Just last week, I had a Septoplasty & SMR Turbinate. However, I am still experiencing the smell. As I write this as a matter of fact. I am now on a steroid pack and ENT is also sending me for allergy testing.
Most of you are describing it as cigarette smoke. Not for me. I am a former smoker and can still smell a cigarette a mile away. My smokey smell is thick like having an insense burning under my nose. Sometimes I feel as though it is choking me. As another reader mentioned, if I pull my shirt up over my nose, the smell stops and I can actually smell the laundry detergent on the shirt.
What I did read of interest is the Reflux theory. I have been taking Nexium for reflux for many years now. I will mention this to my ENT. Thank You all.
If I learn something new, I will post again.
I thought it interesting that you take a nasal steroid spray. I just started experiencing the smoke smell a few days ago (Sunday) after trying to help my mom put out a grill/grease fire. It has lasted now almost a week and is driving me crazy. I called my doctor because I was put on flonase about a month ago. She told me this is a side effect and to stop the flonase immediately. Day two after stopping and I still smell smoke just as strong. Hoping the doctor is right and this goes away soon. Wondering if you found any relief? I, too, take acid reflux medication, but I didn't think there was a correlation.
Yayyyy I am not crazy !!! Constantly I would ask my husband if he smelled the cigarette and his replied was always negative. But after reading this thread, I must write that, first I am not imagining things and second the relation to the acid reflux medications.
I did take some medication for acid reflux recently because of some antibiotics, destroying my stomach. Does anyone know why one thing can cause the other (or is related) and how to get rid of the cigarette smell?
Wow !!! I have been driving my family crazy asking them are sure you don't smell that ! I have even questioned them about smoking in the house.
I to have NEVER smoked and do not allow in the house. But for a week now I have smelling Smoke. At first it was just when I was laid down at night. I washed all bedding and CLEANED everything. Bit it got worse now I smell it all the time very strong and now it burns my nose and I can taste it !!! This is horrible, I feel like others can smell me but they say No and look at me as if I've lost it. I have had acid re flux in the past but I am not on a daily Med. My dad was a heavy smoker and passed away with complications of COPD. So this is very difficult for me
I have an observation that I think may be very IMPORTANT to many of us. I also have had these phantom fumes and smells for over five months...and they have ranged from sickly sweet/ moldy to pungent chemical and diesel fuel/kerosene- like in odor. Many times I have had these smells early upon waking , but the worst times have been middle of the night, where they would wake me up with a sickening start! I had felt all along that we had mold issues in our HVAC, and over the months had an entirely new system installed, inside and out, with new ductwork, etc. We even added the UV light, and had a major cleaning done...we are in an almost brand new home... Guess what....the smell came back just as before. About two weeks ago, doing research on these fumes and moldy sickening odors...I stumbled across several blogs and sites describing Phantosmia. WOW! A frightening realization slowly overcame me...that it has all been internal...and not external at all. No one else ever smells the odors that I have complained about, of course. So, the other night, to test my theory, I went to bed, and upon waking up early in the morning...checked to see if I could smell the "fumes".... Slightly, but not overwhelming. THEN, I made a slight depression in my pillow, and breathed into it four or five times without using my nose to breathe in...I then smelled the area slowly...and WOW! Overpowering fumes there in the pillow...exactly of the same scent as the diesel and sickening sweet moldy smells I have had over many months.
Here is my major take away from this (and of course I did this little experiment about 20 times, to make sure the odor was coming OUT OF ME)........that we may not all be 'hallucinating odors' , or having some other worldly sensing type of wierd experience...but we may actually be smelling a very strange odor from our own breath!!! Maybe coming from lungs...or abdominal/gastric areas, or sinuses. I remember times my wife would occasionally have 'acetone' breath in the morning, and I would be amazed at how it smelled just like nail polish remover...exactly. She could breathe at me, and it would be pure acetone. It only happened four or five times over the years. We looked it up and found this is common and is explained in medical literature as a known breath abberation.
So this leads me to this conclusion...we may ALSO be 'manufacturing' the odor that we frequently smell, and we may smell and percieve different versions of the odor, depending on our internal bodily conditions. I do NOT know what may be producing the odor...but I do believe it is real...and we are highly sensitive to smelling it. Try the pillow test next time you wake up to the nasty fumes.....breathe a bit of your own breath back in...and see if it is very strong and more intense. I also had several moderate head bump situatiuons in the past year....sports related, which many claim can cause phantosmia....but I also have frequent sinus allergies (not infection)...and this has also been implicated in the medical sites. So, let's see if anyone else out there can determine whether their phantom smells and fumes are being 'imagined'/ hallucinated......OR rather being just plain produced by our bodies...and sensed very acutely when we breathe it in. That is likely why it comes and goes randomly...depending on our day to day physical condition.
I think that if people can develop 'acetone' breath, as my wife has in the past, and that itself is a very noxious smell....and is accepted as being caused by metabolic changes in an individual....then we may be producing a breath scent in a very similar manner. We may just smell and taste our own noxious scent being produced for some unknown reason!!!! The smell that I breathed into my pillow was the EXACT fume smell, times ten!!! It comes from inside of ME!!!
I too have been smelling phantom cigarette smoke for the past six months. Sometimes it is so strong that I cough and feel like I cannot breathe. My husband nor I smoke. We live in a new home where no one has ever smoked. I am not around anyone who smokes. I smell this phantom smoke everywhere I go. It even wakes me from sleep. I mentioned it to my pcp and he just made the comment that it was weird and left it at that. A couple of months later, I mentioned it to my rheumatologist. He told me to schedule an appointment with a neurologist immediately. I asked why the urgency and he explained that it could be just an olfactory hallucination or it could be something very serious. I made the appointment with the neurologist who put me through a series of tests and this is what I found out. The phantom smells I am having are actually seizures caused by a benign brain tumor called a meningioma. The meningioma is a tumor on the lining of the brain and spinal cord which contains 3 layers. It is on the underside of my brain where the brain meets the stem/spinal cord. The meningioma is pressing on the part of my brain that controls smell and taste. I go back to the neurologist in Feb to discuss what comes next as far as treatment goes. I don't know how large the tumor is and that will determine what treatment is required. Even though the tumor is benign, it could possibly still be large and/or fast growing which can be fatal. It could also be small and/or slow growing which could require having an MRI every 3 months and just watching it. Other treatments include surgery (if the tumor is accessible) and radiation which will make your hair fall out. I don't want to scare anyone, but I feel that if you are experiencing phantom smells, you should go to the doctor and get checked out to make sure it's not something serious. My neurologist fussed at me for waiting so long to come see him and I've only been experiencing this for 6 months and it took me two months to get an appointment with him because he's the BEST in my area. I hope my post helps someone.
Wow, I cant believe I'm not the only one with this phantom smoke smell. I've been smelling dirty ashtray on and off for a few years now. The first time I experienced it was after being around second hand smoke. I thought the smoke was stuck on my nose hairs and in my hair, but I smelt dirty ashtray on and off for weeks afterwards. I'll go months without smelling it, but then it comes back. It seems to be triggered by smelling second hand smoke and sometimes camp fire. I wake up not smelling it, but then it gradually creeps back, usually in the afternoon. Smelling Vicks is a temporary relief, and cupping my hand over my nose and mouth and breathing that way.
I have been experiencing this smoke smelling phenom since November or December of 2014. I have always had a heightened sense of smell but now can only smell cigarette smoke. Thank you for your post. I am going to skip visiting my PCP and head straight to a neurologist. I really don't think I'm going to waste anytime trying to self diagnose. Thanks again.
Like everyone else, I'm so happy to have found this forum; to discover others with this same condition. The smell in my nose is that of a very smoky but stale cigarette smoke smell. I've smelled this off and on over the years, but only for very short periods and I never thought to look it up. Currently I've smelled it for 2 weeks, which is the longest I can remember. I also have a weird, heavy feeling in the back of my throat and chest, like I'm full of something, like, well, smoke! I have always had sinus issues, and in the last year developed acid reflux. I'm super stressed and very tired, but have been for several years and this is the first reoccurrence I've had in any years (that I can remember). I drink 2 mugs of coffee every day but used to drink more. I haven't smoked in 14 years. I don't drink much but I just realized I did have a glass of wine 2 weeks ago...plus I ate shrimp. Those are the only things I can think of that are out of the ordinary for my life lately.
Kaydi35, please let us know what the neurologist says about your tumor and how you're doing. Thank you for sharing your story!
I just started smelling cigarette smoke since January 28, 2015. I am very tired of smelling it. It comes and goes. Nothing has changed in my life except I lost my Grandmother on January 10th and I lost a dog that I was very close on January 26th. That is when the smoke started and I have been tracking it and putting on a notepad in my phone. Sometimes I will have it for a few days and it be gone a week and then come back. It really feels like i stink like cigarette smoke or my face is in an ashtray. This smell is worse than standing next to someone that smokes, its so much stronger and I really need a group I can belong to and people that don't think I am crazy. Any suggestions would be helpful. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. It's so weird and I'm so done with smelling smoke but life shall go on.
Oh my... I thought I was loosing my mind. I stopped smoking 25 years ago. Over this past year, on and off, I have been having the smell of an ashtray stuck in my nose. I smell it in the car, in my house...everywhere. It is driving me crazy. I did have a sinus infection recently but during that time I didn't have the smell issue. What the hell is this?
JaWiem in Jan 2015 said his wife took 2 antacids and the smell went away. I took one and nothing changed, but then I started taking 2 every morning and it really has helped a lot. It comes back every now and then, but it used to be constant, and if I'm taking the antacids it only happens for a brief moment maybe once a week or every two weeks. For me it must be reflux related, which makes some sense since the smell started when my stress got really bad. Try the antacids - take 2!
I have been suffering from this for over 3 years now and nobody can tell me what it is. At first all I could smell is smoke and now the smell has changed but I can't explain what it smells like. I've noticed when I don't eat right and don't drink enough water it gets really bad to the point where I'm nauseous. I have also noticed it isn't as bad when I give up the coffee.
This all started when my doctor put me on antidepressants. I had never suffered from anything until then and now I have this and also tinnitus, constant ringing in my ear. I stopped taking the antidepressants years ago but the symptoms are still there. I'm annoyed at my doctor for prescribing them and at me for taking them.
I started smelling cigarette smoke for about 2 mos now. Started to happen after I got home from work,however my husband doesn't smoke and neither do I. Since it's just us at home I thought it was odd Iask my husband why the house smelled like smoke but he doesn't smell it. I have a 7 year old grand daughter and she says she doesn't smell it either. At times its so strong feels like I have trouble breathing. At first I thought it was somebody has been in the house smokeing when we were not home but we have an alarm system no sign anyone has been there. My husband thinks I'm losing it. Maybe so! But I am convienced there is another reason for this. about 3 years ago I lost my sense of taste and smell, gradually it has stared to come back but not the same at it was. I begin to think it was a ghost of my brother that smoked alot, He passed about 2 years ago but we were never close. I know that is crazy thinking but it gets disturbing when you are the only one that smells it. I also have a constant hissing in my ears that started about 7 yrs ago that is getting louder as time goes by. I used to only hear it when I got still not I hear it all the time. I have a fear of doctors so I haven't been checked but otherwise I'm healthy. I just wish I knew what was causing this smell. because now I'm smelling it 90 % of my day. Hope someone has an answer.
Do you consume dairy products? I had this situation on and off for about 7 years. Up until recently, I didn't have the problem for a long time. I started using butter (grass fed in this instance) more often since I heard it's got some vitamin k2 in it. I started getting the smoke smell in my head again. At first I had no idea what it was. One day I solved the correlation when I had buttered toast in the morning and then put a healthy amount on my rice at lunch. The smoke smell was very dominant later that day and into the next morning. Bingo! I stopped using butter and the smoke smell disappeared. It's been around 3 weeks and still no smoke smell. I even use butter every now and again with no adverse effects. I guess I have an intolerance to butter, but I'm not super sensitive. I'm also not lactose intolerant in the classic sense. I hope this helps in your situation!
I have been smelling smoke on and off for about a month or so. Sure is weird, no? I don't like it, but it is tolerable. I finally decided to look it up, and feel relieved that others have this same experience. I guess I'm writing to not feel alone in this. I will be contacting my doc and perhaps seeing an ENT specialist. I will post the results.
The ashtray smell in my nose started about 3 years ago. It would happen every few months and last for a week or so. Having been clear for over a year, I thought it had gone for good. But not so. It started again a few days ago and is really strong at the moment. Horrible. I'm hoping it follows the usual pattern and stops soon. I live on my own in a detached house and have never smoked. I'm not on any medication (never have been) and do not have any allergies! It does not happen before or after illnesses. I feel well!
After using Flonase for 4 days I realized I had lost much of my sense of smell. I am using a lot more spices because my sense of taste is altered also. I quit the Flonase about 3 months ago but I likewise smell smoke quite frequently. It is in my house, in my car, in restaurants, and doctor's offices but never outside. It feels like I am gagging on the smoke but no one else smells it. Very frustrating.
The local mobsters sometimes place baseball - sized dark brown puffball mushrooms in my yard. Got a fresh attack of the 'cigarette smell' (cited here) a couple days after using a leaf blower to push the latest mushroom into the garden waste recycle pile. I'll be surprised if my symptom is not related to a fungal sinus infection.
I flushed my nasal passages with a 1/16 solution of boric acid and distilled water yesterday afternoon. Smoke symptom disappeared and normal olifactory function restored. Nose is now working normally for the last 17 hours. Next time, I'll use a respirator when blowing leaves and mushrooms off my lawn. --Len
Can you explain further how you flushed out I'm suffering really badly and can cry most night it's getting me down had it after a recent cold used sinus tablets throat lozenges and anti acid chews seems worse when sitting or getting to sleep.im out of the U.K. So can't get to my gp.CAN YOU PLEASE HELP
I did not even bother to ask a medical professional about this symptom. I saw from the responses here that medical professionals appeared unable to approach these symptoms scientifically and instead fell back on some useless 'woo-woo' advice including a (not making this up) psychological referral.
I am not a medical professional and I do not advise anybody to do anything except seek the counsel of a qualified doctor.
Here is what I did.
I had some boric acid powder in stock, so I mixed it with warm distilled water in a ratio of about 16 parts water to one part boric acid. I bent sideways over my bathroom basin in the same position one takes when using a neti pot.
I poured the solution into one nostril and it drained out the other nostril. I then reversed position so that the 'input' nostril became the 'output' nostril and flushed again. It worked a treat and I've been without symptoms for the last week or so. I was delighted that my chronic post-nasal drip disappeared instantly as well.
"Another thing that I've noticed is that if I place pressure on my cheeks on either side of the nostrils, using my fingers, as if to widen the nose, the smell goes away." Thank you for that tip, skypster. Closing off the nasal connection to the sinuses in that way was the key. That led me to cure my symptoms by flushing with a boric acid solution and I am free of symptoms for the first time in years.
That worked for about a week and then the smell was back with a vengeance. I dissolved about 2 ml of tolnaftate 1% cream in about 100 ml of warmed deionized water and flushed my nasal passages a couple days ago. Wow! I could actually feel it zoom into all my sinuses and the 'cigarette smell' is gone again.
Why You Smell Phantom Cigarette Smoke When Nobody’s Smoking
Nobody around is smoking, so why do you smell cigarette smoke? Is this crazy or what? There are some explanations for this phenomenon.
“There are many reasons that cause people to have phantom smells and/or bad smells (known as parosmia),” explains Jordan S. Josephson, MD, Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY, Author of Sinus Relief Now, Director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center.
Unfortunately, some causes of smelling cigarette smoke
when nobody is smoking are very serious:
“These phantom smells can be caused by damage to the olfactory nerve by chemicals, or infection with a virus or bacteria, or trauma. A tumor of the brain or the olfactory nerve can also cause phantom smells. Or it can be caused by the infection itself. And the resulting sensation is then confused in the brain with the smell of cigarette smoke.”
More about parosmia: Dr. Josephson notes, “The bottom line is that many people may get this sensation at one time or another. If it comes and goes, then again, there is probably nothing to worry about. However, there are a few conditions that can cause parosmia, and this lasts longer than a fleeting moment, or recurs more frequently, and this is something that needs to be looked at carefully.”
Why is cigarette smoke usually the phantom smell? “The parosmia is often described like the smell of smoke or cigarette smoke or like something that is burning. Overall this symptom is poorly understood and we don’t know why people relate this to cigarette smoke. It may be that the neurologic signals sent to the brain by the damage is closest to what we have learned is the smell of cigarette smoke or something burning.”
If one has parosmia, when should he seek medical attention? “If the parosmia lingers, worsens and does not get better or it occurs with increasing frequency, you should probably see a board certified otolaryngologist and a neurologist and get studies to evaluate the cause of this problem. The good news is there most likely is a solution for most of these sufferers.”
What is it about phantom cigarette smoke and being alone in a car and nobody’s been puffing tobacco? “Many people report that this sensation of parosmia is brought on by dry heated air. That is probably why many people report this to occur in the car because of the heating system in the car blowing dry air.
"Boiling water and forced hot air from a furnace have also been reported by many patients to induce this sensation as well. It is probably that there was damage to the nerve, and the heat causes the nerve to fire and cause this sensation of parosmia. However, this is not well understood.”
Other causes of smelling cigarette smoke are infections that can invade the sinuses or throat. These can harm the nerves that pick up scents. Dr. Josephson explains, “This is usually following a sinus infection or an upper respiratory tract infection.”
He continues, “If it is a bacterial sinusitis it needs to be treated with antibiotics, irrigation with saline and topical steroid sprays. Furthermore, viruses that attack the olfactory nerve or taste nerve can lead to this sense of something burning. Migraines can also be related to an aura that brings on the sensation of something burning or a smell described like there is cigarette smoke when there is none.”
If you continue to smell cigarette smoke, Dr. Josephson urges a comprehensive workup which includes a smell test and CAT scan. “Then appropriate treatment has to be instituted. And the cause may be multi-factorial and therefore the treatment may need to be multifaceted.” Unfortunately, two more causes could be neurological conditions including stroke.
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