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same problem with the smoke odor
I'm so glad to hear someone else is experiencing the same problem.  No answers and no solutions.  Yet, I have the same problem.  Smelling cigarette smoke in my nose.  By the way, when you are driving on the road, if someone is smoking and it's blowing out their window, it will come in through your air conditoner.  That's why you smell it when you are on the road.


This discussion is related to constantly smelling cigarette smoke.
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Hi - I don't take any supplements and still have that problem. I get the smell about 3-4 weeks before an actual sinus infection appears. I'm wondering if Flonase can do it - are you on that?
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I live in Nor Cal and there are several refineries within the area and sometimes they dump crap in the air.  I was thinking it might be one of them.  I do not smoke and neither does anyone in my home.
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I suffer from the condition Cronic hives sense I was a little girl, but 6 months ago I started having problems with the constantly smelling of cigarette smoke, I take claritin and Benadryl, Glad to found this page I don't feel alone and I knoe I 'm not crazy.Please I need Help.
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I had similar symptons to you all. Got medication from the doctors which did not help. Went on holiday for two weeks and found the smell of smoke disappeared. Began work, smell of smoke returned. Discussed with work colleague who also had the same sensation. I investigated further and found due to cost cutting exercises the filters for the buildings air con had not been changed. \they should have been changed every 6-8 weeks but were still in use after 16 weeks. When the filters are past their use-by-date they release oils into the building atmosphere. The oils irritates only certain people, usually hay-fever suffers. It gave me headaches, sore eyes and the smell of smoke. The effects could last 24hrs or more.

I had the filters changed and the smell disappeared. I would also recommend that the air filters in your vehicles are changed at the required frequency too.
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I'm so glad to know I am not the only one..I was starting to think I was losing my mind..My problem started a few years back..it started as a burnt coffee smell..no one else smelled it..then it would be like a burning smell, like leaves or hot cardboard..I first smelled it at work, but noticed it was still with me when I got home, still there if I went somewhere else, in the car..etc....after a few days it would leave..then after some time, maybe days or weeks it would return and stay for days..then leave again..then a couple years ago at another job it seemed like it would just "turn on" at about the same time everyday, and hang around for a day or several days..sometimes it seems like certain smells will trigger it, like if I smell leaves or wood burning, or if we cook something greasy..there are times when I won't have it for several weeks up to a few months..then bam..its back again, and it seems like the spells last longer now , for several days..it gets so bad sometimes that I really think I'm gonna go insane or just want to die....a few years back I went to dr. and she had my sinuses xrayed, but said all was normal..I too take lisinopril for high blood pressure..been on it for about 16 yrs..I have high cholestorol, just recently started meds for that..sometimes I'll stick my fingers in my nostrils to try to block the smell when I breathe, or pull the collar of my shirt up over my nose and breathe and it seems to block it for a minute or so..It doesn;t really bother me when I sleep, but it will come back once I'm up and at it..I mentioned the other day to my husband that maybe it was related to my bp meds..but then I was wondering about a brain tumor too..I'm just sick of it..like I said somedays when I've had it for several days in a row I just don't want to be awake or alive its that bad..nobody seems to  understand how  this inteferes with my everyday life...I want to go back to the doc. but I don't want him to think I'm nuts, but then I don't know how much more I can take...why can't someone help us ???..sorry this was so long !!
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I smell the smoke too, and it like smoke from exshaut pipe of the car or the smell of the old bus (when you take the city bus), and sometime the smell of rubbing alcohol smell like the smell of some one under arm (that did not use antipeperant ). when that happen i use an oral syringe  to flush and wash my nose with warm water , it seem like go away till next time.
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This is so crazy , I get headaches from the smell, its been happening for a month or so already I have no explanation for it ... The smoke emell its everywhere ...
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I have been getting a 'smoke smell' for about a year now, after reading comments from other sites and on here I think maybe I should contact my GP.  Has anyone had an actual diagnosis from the smell.  Would be interesting to find out.  People thought I was going mad asking if they could smell it all the time, glad I am not the only one out there.
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Hello everyone! My cigarette smoke/car fumes smell is back and I absolutely am sure that mine is the precursor to a sinus infection. I started smelling it about 2 weeks ago and have been on antibiotics for 5 days and the smell is gone but now I can't breathe through my nose. I get the smell before any signs of infection and it takes about 2-3 weeks before I get actual nasal congestion.  Pay attention next time it happens and see if you get a sinus infection or cold shortly after....Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
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Hello all !  i have been searching the net to see what i can find but i too have the same issue.  I have been smelling burning leaves or woodfire the last two weeks and for the life of me i can't figure it out.  i work from home and i've gone around my house to see if the smell is coming from somewhere and NO LUCK!  I've mentioned it to my husband and kids and they don't seem to have the problem.  I am getting worried that it is related to some hidden health issue that our body is telling us to look into.
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Thanks to everyone who has made comments - I, too, have had this phantom smell the past week or so, intense and just like when I used to smoke (quit 2.5 years ago).  I even thought hubby had started smoking again and kept asking if he could smell it, or if anyone had smoked in my car...so strange.  He could smell nothing. At any rate, there have been serious sinus infections racing though my office, maybe I am next and THIS is the precursor??  Otherwise, I am frustrated there's nothing mentioned on WebMD,etc, and we are not really seeing any answers.  
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P.S.  I have hypothyroid disease and daily dose of synthroid.  I've heard there MAY be a connection?  Also until a couple of weeks ago I took a daily plethora of fish oil, tumeric, cinnamon, B complex, D, Multi-vitamin, and cider-vinegar tabs.  (enough to make a meal out of!!) Anyway I am going back on them all since I've been sloughing off .. maybe that was the trigger?????   who knows!
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I reread all the comments again, and forgot to mention 1 thing about myself...I do take Benicar for high blood pressure and saw that there are a few of you that are on different BP meds. Mine is sporadic, but when it comes on, is very intense and coincides with sinus pressure/headaches. I can have heaviness behind the eyes without a headache and still get the smell.  The smell is deep in the cavity and is not perceived by anyone else, so it's not a smell that my body is exuding. I go to my primary and get antibiotics and Once I'm done with them, the smell is gone again. I use a Nasaline syringe to clear my passages and that doesn't help with the smell - the only thing FOR ME that works is getting on the antibiotics when the smell first comes. I don't have an answer for those of you who get it regularly - fortunately for me, mine happens maybe 2-3/year. Be well!
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I have been to Doctors for the same problem: phantom smokey smells. I would like to publish my findings and stay in touch with other with similar issues.  I am really tired of this! I am 57 and very healthy, never have been overweight, stay very active and eat well.

After 3 years of off and on phantom smells I finally went to a neurologist, however my MRI showed nothing unusual. He ordered an EEG and concluded I might be having partial onset seizures and thought that might be causing the phantom smokey smells. He gave me a medication, Levetiracetam 500mg, that I discontinued after a week due to awful side effects (rash, major pain and swelling of lymph glands, etc. which all took over a week to go away).  I have not continued any drugs since that experience.  

It is interesting that other have notice a possible link with the use Mucinex D, I am going to discontinue the use too.  I had been wondering if that might be a factor.  Because I just realized it started backup when I starting taking Munich D a week ago.  
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I found this forum because I've been having a similar problem lately.  To me it smells like auto exhaust such as collects in a parking garage, or soot from a wood fireplace.  Think what it's like when you are driving and following a really old car that's smoking out the tailpipe.  I smell it mostly while at work in an office building, and it fluctuates from mild to OMG-I'm being poisoned.  Although now that it's been happening for about a week and a half, I seem to be smelling it faintly when I'm at home sitting at my computer.

After reading these posts, my gut tells me that we are not crazy, it's not in our heads or our noses -- most likely it's some type of air pollution.  We don't notice it for awhile, weeks-months-years go by, and then some of us become sensitized.  Then we smell it when others cannot.  I also think it is likely some types of VOC's that are fat-soluble, and we store them in our bodies and then excrete it slowly, causing us to smell the same smell, but less severely, when we're not actively being exposed.

SMOG is everywhere, and increasing globally.  Smog-filtering equipment is expensive and not required by law, to the degree that it will filter out every last micro-particle.  And since not everyone smells it (often because they are bathed in fragrances) we start to think it's just us.

We are offended by the smell/odor because our bodies and minds are telling us that whatever it is, it's unhealthy, and we need to get away from it.  But it's in us and coming out through our breath so we can't ever get away completely.

A lot of us remember having some kind of "virus" before these symptoms began, so did I.  But it wasn't a typical cold or flu, it was mostly cough and fluid in my lungs, and initial low fever.  It took several weeks to finally feel back to normal; now this.  That I think could also be caused by exposure to toxic smog.  This overt reaction that we mistook for a virus was what triggered the hypersensitivity.
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I have had this issue for months and I can't stand it! To me it smells like a wet ashtray. My doctor is thinking it could be a GI infection. I wonder if anyone else had a GI work up done. There are so many posts of people who have the issue and no I
One who has found a solution. I am the only one who smells it, which I think is good, except I am so grossed out by the smell I can't take it anymore. HELP!!!!!
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how funny i have a strange smell of ashtrays. no one around me smokes. it does coincide with taking ginseng. perhaps some medications or herbal remedies could bring this on
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I have just recently began smelling This foul smell but mines more the smell of cigarette ash of pub ashtrays lol mixed with the smell of oranges!!.  It is so unpleasant.  I get it mainly when I'm lying in bed but no one smokes in the house and we havnt Bren around any smokers.  I am An ex smoker so is my husband and I'd know if he started again cos the smell isn't about him.

I had back surgery 2 weeks ago so have been laid up in bed since resting as I also suffer
From M.E and I am awaiting surgery for a tiny tucked away tumour of the parotid gland but none of these things point to the smell problem.  Right now I'm lay here and I am feeling so nauseous I can't stand it!  Help!!
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Just an add on to my earlier post- I am not on any high blood Pressure Tablets only pain relief drugs and antidepressants on which I have been taking all of them for some years.
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I'm only 15. I've had the same problem. I can smell what I can only describe as smoke, when I breathe in. It happens to me around once or twice every year, for the past three. I don't know what causes it... I don't smoke, my parents used to smoke but that was a long time ago, as they quit when I was about 10 - 12 yrs old.
I'm starting to worry, so I'm going to ask my parents for an appointment at the doctors :/.
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I'm in my 30s and live in Florida and have been SUFFERING with this intermittently...now starting my 3rd year.  I can't stand the smell of cigarettes...why couldn't it be brownies or browned butter?!  The first time it came on after a horrible upper respiratory infection.  A Z pack took care of it.  Next time I talked my OB/GYN into prescribing me a Z pack and it  worked again.  Last year, I talked to 4 different doctors (one of them even being my brother) but still no one had an answer.  Finally, 2 weeks ago I went to see a new ENT and he's ordered a CT, but I don't have much hope.  He scoped my sinuses in his office and said they look fine.  He feels like its damage to the olfactory nerve and is not repairable...so depressing.  I've got 2 small kids, so naturally I don't want anything to be wrong with me, but it'd be nice to have a real explanation!  Cupping my hand over my mouth helps...air blowing on my face makes it worse.  My throat starts itching and I get a headache like I'm sitting in a smokey bar.  I saw that some folks mentioned air conditioning, but I even smell it outside at the park and the beach.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  I'll let you know what we find!
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I have this woody-smoky smell right now. For me, it's always related to a pretty bad cold and probably a sinus infection. I just put up with it and soon it's gone. Soon meaning about 10 days or so. The cold or whatever it is isn't bad enough for me to actually see a doctor. The smell has even affected the taste of coffee! This is the third time in the last 2 years or so this has happened - I am in my mid 40s and pretty healthy & in good shape.
Again I think it's related to a cold and possibly a sinus infection. For me it goes away in a week more or less but at times it's overpowering.
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I too thought I was loosing my mind.  This is crazy!!  I can't believe so many people have the same symptoms of smelling smoke.  I have been smelling smoke for two days now. (since easter sunday night.)  I thought that the neighbor was smoking near my house. But he wasn't outside and when I went out there, no smoke smell.  I maily smell it in my house and car. No one else in my family smells it.  

I am healthy and I don't have hight blood pressure, allergies, or migranes.  I have been sick free for years.  I do take vitamins. I take vitamin B complex, Vitamin d and fishoil in liquid form.  All of the vitamins I consume are free of gelatin. Those are the only meds that I have been taking.

My weakness is coffee and diet coke.  I exercise and eat semi healthy.

I wake in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke.  It's like someone is blowing it in my face.  My eyes water and the back of my throat burns. I have also been coughing in reaction to some of the stronger smoke.

Has anyone ever connected with the other side? Does anyone have an answer?
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So glad to see that I am not alone here! This has been going on for over a year. It is not constant, but seems to come in spurts. It started again last week. Sometimes the smoke smell is so bad I feel like I'm not getting air and have to breath through my mouth. What the hell is this????
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I live in Northern California. I have been experiencing the smell of something burning too. It hurts my throat and makes me cough. I smell it strongest when I am at home and I even have a hard time breathing. It drives me crazy.

Nobody else smells it except for me and my daughter. My husband mentions ' controlled burn (field burning) ' for agricultural use. Who should we complain to?  
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My Benicar Rx smells and tastes like popcorn butter--even the bottle too!  Maybe BENICAR pills that come from different batches or production facilities have varied flavors and smells?  Maybe your pills DO smell differently --like Vanilla or automotive exhaust --maybe because of WHERE they were made and WHAT is in them?  Check your bottle?  My small white Benicar bottle states the following identifying details, in small print:

"Manufactured for Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. Parsippany NJ 07054. Product of Japan P1701409"
Lot# is RFAD119
Bar Code# is 65597-105-90
small nbr on left of Barcode is N3
small nbr on right of Barcode is 4
___________________________________
What does all this mean? Were these pills produced in Japan, then shipped to US? Or were they produced here in US? Are we using up OLD stock from Japan that has been exposed to radiation after Nuclear Plant contamination in Japan? Shouldn't someone be asking questions?

Look at your med bottles? Then list the numbers from your bottle- and the odor.  Let's research and compare??

List your Rx details on this blog ASAP.....   [from 'JustBsure']

May 10, 2011 1:18 PM  
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As the doctor posted early in this thread, the condition is called phantosmia.  The Mayo clinic web site he listed has some excellent information.

I have been formally diagnosed with a similar condition, parosmia, My form of parosmia does not fit the typical difinition.  I have abhorant reactions including asthma and vocal cord dysfunction attacks to just about every odor including all fragrances in perfumes, collognes, air fresheners and many foods especially cinnamon.

I will be posting a Health Page with my research on the conditions in the next few weeks when school is out and I have more free time.  

In the mean time, if you are new to this condition, please see your doctor.  This condition can be caused by a simple sinus infection.  It also occurs as migraine auras, damage to the olefactory nerve, and masses.  In many cases, the phenomenon goes away within a few weeks while for others, it is much longer lasting.  

As your new CL I definitely sympathize with you and I know that you are NOT crazy.  It is very real.  I would like to help all of you in any way I can.  If you have any specific questions you would like addressed, please ask.  

Take care and God bless.
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Its the second time in 2 wks that I'm smelling this "stink" in my nose - nobody else around me smells it - thankfully, because I was horrified that it was ME!! I'm confident now though, that it definitely isn't. Besides the fact that I shower daily, and always wear fresh clean clothes - I've asked many people close to me, if they smell anything and they don't.

Its much worse when sitting at the computer.

I noticed that I had (what I used to call) sensitive smell - when I was pregnant with first child, things that used to smell pleasant now smelled terrible. (eg. when cooking a ham, I could smell a barn. When cooking chicken, I could smell a hen house.??? seriously - not good!)  but that is nothing compared to this awful smell I've been smelling for last few weeks. Its disgusting - smells like a dirty sweaty smoker.

Only meds i take is for acid reflux. Blood pressure has always been excellent.

IF EVER SOMEONE FINDS A CURE : please let us know!!!

I wish nobody had to have this, but I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
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Read this: http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/7/611.full

A good article about phantosmia.
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The article that Soffala mentioned is an awesome article but may be difficult to read for those who don't have some medical background. I know 100% that my phantosmia is a precursor to a sinus infection. The article didn't mention this because they said that there was no evidence of upper respiratory infection in the patients they observed. From my personal experience and experimenting, I have come to the conclusion that I need antibiotics as soon as I smell the cigarette smoke in my nose. I can't smell anything else when this occurs and I'm not congested. It's just an internal smell of disgusting cigarettes and ashtrays. When the smell comes, I have no symptoms of any upper respiratory distress and within 2-4 weeks later the sinus infection finally appears with nasal congestion. If yours is sporadic like mine (maybe 2x a year), then watch if you get a sinus infection even up to a month later. If that is the case then you know that yours is like mine and directly related to an impending sinus infection and it is your personal warning. I'm blessed with this knowledge because I get the antibiotics and within 5 days the smell is gone. I also have a warning signal when I'm about to get an asthma attack. I get an itch along my waist on the right side and in my right lung. Then I use my rescue inhaler and prevent the spasmic cough. Hope this helps someone! :)
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Have had this constant bonfire smoke smell in my nose (and can even taste it at back of my throat) for the past 4 days. Smells and tastes almost petrol-like at times. I'm 55 and apart from being a bit overweight, I am generally healthy, not on any medication and not stressed at all. Havn't had any colds or sinus trouble. Can't understand it but am amazed and relieved to see there are others with same problem. Maybe my family will take me seriously now. Seems to have affected ability to smell anything else. Don't know how long this will last but will see my doctor if it carries on.  Will let you know outcome.
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I, too, have been smelling cigarette smoke for the past, several months. I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one - I thought I was going nuts.

I've looked over all of the responses to this and the other, similar forum strings on the subject, and there appears to be a pattern to everyone's experience with this problem. Most appear to regularly take over-the-counter allergy, pain-reliever and/or other analgesic pills (i.e. Ibuprofen, loratadine, diphenhydramine hydrochloride), and, to a lesser extent, drink coffee. Perhaps there's something in the cheap filler used to make over-the-counter medicines, or binding agents, or preservatives, which produces the sensation or, even, the odor we all are experiencing (?).

I'm going to stop taking my regular doses of these over-the-counter medicines for a while, to see if the "cigarette smoke" sensation subsides.
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I am so glad that I am not really loosing my mind.  I have never heard of this before, but have been experiencing the smoke sensation for several months now. (I even made my husband go outside and look around the house/yard one night when I first started experiencing this)  Now that I see that I am not the only one experiencing this it makes me feel better.  Sinus problems... yes, hpb? yes, same meds as some listed above, stress?  yes, Over the counter pain meds?  yes.  gosh so many things we have in common.  strange huh?  at least now I know I am not going crazy.  thanks for the imput
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I also smell funny/strange strong smells. My hubby can never smell the same smells as i can. He thinks im nuts!..the smells that i smell are smoke like fumes sort of smell. Like exhausts sort of smell and at times its as if i can smell Cleaning products!...This  is doing my head in..I have a cyst on my Pituitary gland. Iv suffered severe migranes in the past and I am wondering if there is any links between these 2 problems?
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I read all these comments that started this post over three years ago.  I'm joining the majority in stating that I am so happy to know I'm not crazy either.  My 'smoke' smell started about a year ago and would be noticeable periodically.  As time went by it has gotten worse.  I even dumped out my big trash can trying to find the cigarette butts that I was sure were in there.  Couldn't find any.  I was perplexed like the rest of you.  For the past few months, the smell I have in my nose constantly is not necessarily a bad one and I'm so thankful for that.  My problem now is that I don't, or can't, smell 'real' smells.  I always want my house to smell nice because we have a large dog and I'm concerned about dog smells in the house.  I hesitate to have people over because I can't be sure if my house smells clean or not.  This condition is debilitating in that way.  I have twin granddaughters and I guess it would be a nice problem to not be able to smell poopie diapers but sometimes I've let them go too long because I cannot smell the messy diaper.  I do have sinus problems -- mostly allergy related.  I am 61 years old and also take Toprol XL and Lisinpril for high bloodk pressure.  I am retired and stress is definitely not a factor for my problem.  I'm normally a happy person.  I am going to research the phantosmia and parosmia but I, too, think I 'heard' somewhere that there is no cure for this condition.  Right now, I'm just hoping I'll wake up one day and it will be magically GONE.  I'll keep checking this forum for any hope though.  Everyone hang in there!!!!  You are NOT alone!!
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I'm so glad I'm not the only one.  I've been smelling smoke for over two years now.  I can't pin down what can be causing it.  I do have some neck injury and have had for ten years now.  I am wondering if any of you have central nervous system problems and are on gabapentin?   I am embarrassed to go see doctor about it in fear they think I'm nuts but now that I see there are others I do think it would be worth seeking medical help.   Have any of you found anything that takes the smell away at all?  
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Well, like most of you i also thought i was alone. I smell smoke a lot of the time. I have always had seasonal allergies but notice that the smell is there even if it's not allergy season. I try to pin point the comings and goings to see if there's a pattern but i haven't found one. I hate it, it really bother's me. I think i will ask my ENT but i really doubt that he will be able to help me. If i do get some relief i will be glad to post it.
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Wow. This is a lot of people describing my exact symptom. Write me up as another person who smells a sort of smokey smell, as if someone were burning chemically treated wood a few streets away. It seems to really hit the back of my throat. I smell it at work and in the office, nobody else smells it. I take no medication, I have low to normal blood pressure, I have not had a sinus infection and I've been smelling it for weeks. I'm a regular old healthy 48 year old woman who smells smoke where there is none. Phantosmia doesn't fit my symptoms, since the smell is not awful, just weird and smokey and I've had no seizures etc.The only condition I seem to share with a lot of posters on this thread, is that I have quite a lot of work stress. Odd. Love to see another doctor weigh in here with an alternate diagnosis.
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ATTENTION! The solution will have to be us to US. I think it would be helpul to list any of the following: our ages, state of health, stress factors, list former allergies and list any medications we have or are currently taking, recent sinus/ upper respiratory infections, migraines, recent dental work involving implants or root canals on the upper teeth, sleep disorder and stress factors. Anything you feel important list-we already know we smell smoke!
I am in Central NJ,female, 58, eat well, no medications (formerly on Toporol 25mg) rarely sleep more then 5 hrs per night. Cholesterol is excellent. Slight sinus infection about a month ago. Have upper right quadrant dental implants.   Doctors were no help.  I have been smelling smoke for 2 years.   If everyone else who sees these posts lists their history,perhaps we can pool our resources, history and analyize the data. Otherwise, we will be told we are stressed out or crazy.  Please excuse my typos, no time to proof
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I too have the same smell. No one else smells it. It is 24/7....Exactly like wood smoke. It has been happening to me alot. This time is has been at least 3 weeks. Are we crazy? Have you any other info?
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I agree.getting the know suspects together would be awesome.  . the only common thread I have with other smoke sufferers is I used Zicam only a few times in my nose. Did have a course of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection last month, do drink less than 2 c of coffee a day, and have had 2 other smoke attacks.  I'm going on high probiotics, acidophilis, less caffein, more water immediately.  I am 62, and have been a health follower for over 40 years, find this quite mysterious.  I don't have a cold or suffer from headaches or anything else!  I have rather low blood pressure.. more water is where I'm starting.  Let's hear any POSITIVE notes from everyone.  Thanks so much. So glad I'm not making this up either!
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Hello, I'm a 37-year-old woman who has been plagued by 'phantosmia' since I had a brain tumor removed in 1998. Prior to its removal, I didn't have this problem. Since my neighbors are burning the crud off their lawns, I have had myself and my house inundated with REAL smoke. Which means I'm going to be smelling phantom smoke for weeks, if not months.

Early on, say a couple-three years after the surgery, I smelled smoke whether or not I had been exposed to any. But for years now, I smell phantom smoke only after having been exposed to real cigarette or wood smoke. Else the problem goes away eventually, until I have my next encounter with smoke.  

I noticed that this condition has been correlated with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and schizophrenia. I take Dilantin for seizures. And I don't  have any allergies. My family has a history of Alzheimer's, my mother has schizophrenia, and I have had a brain tumor! I'm a case study for all that medical speculation, I guess. Anyway, just wanted to share.
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I'm always smelling smoke. It comes and it goes, is there anyway that this problem can stop or is something that your going to have to deal with for a while?
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I have been smelling smoke recently, but only in small sniffs. It is very distinct wood burning smell. I had a house fire recently so my husband thinks i am just paranoid. I smelled it even before the fire, and smell it every where not just at the house. It is not a residual smell from the house as the smell is completely different from what the smoke from the fire smelled. I also have a head ache pretty regularly.
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To all of you who smell smoke or burning in your nose.. I occasionally get brief bouts of smoke smell in my nostrils.  . I have allergies and if I get dry sinuses, they start to bleed. Even if it is only a small bit of bleeding, I can get that smoky smell.  Most recently ( today ) it came after I got an upper left rear molar pulled.  It has to do with the tissue behind or around your olfactory nerves. If the sinus area or the tissue at the very back of your nose is actively bleeding or becomes covered with clotting blood, you can start smelling smoky or burning smells. I believe that even a bruising of this tissue can cause this.  This phenomenon can be caused by a wide variety of things ...such as allergies, medication, household products , heaters that dry your sinuses out, injury, disease, surgery , or any strain/ damage to sinus cavity.
I truly hope that this helps you all.  
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I too have seen this common thread of medication as a possible cause and share in it too. I have been regularly using ibuprofen (nurofen) gel on my sprained ankle and have been experiencing the problem since I started. I will stop right away now. PLEASE, if you to have this background reply here too.
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I had this (past tense!) for several years.  It still pops up time to time but goes away.  I feel it might help someone if I share the things I've discovered.

My situation is this: I have always been very sensitive to smells.  I can't go into a perfume store, tire store, or automotive shop without getting a massive headache afterward, which I think is inflamation in my sinuses caused by the odor (usually a chemical).  Several years ago I started smelling smoke.  It was a dusty, burned chemical type smell, like cigarettes or car exhaust.  NOBODY else could smell it.  I only smelled it in my home - the smell would go away shortly after leaving my home.  It was so bad I couldn't sleep, and I often awoke in the middle of the night due to the alarming smell of smoke day after day (very stressful!).  I took notes on when I smelled it.  It was worse at night, and on cold days.  In other words, it was worse when there was a high pressure in the atmosphere, and totally gone on low pressure days.  After doing much research on the internet I discovered that a high pressure creates problems in office and residential buildings that pushes the dirty air toward the bottom floors, where it becomes concentrated.  I live on the ground floor of my building.  The summer is much better.  I only notice it in the summer when it rains, or we get a weird cold day, which sometimes happens (I'm in Canada, sometimes we get a cold snap in june or something).  We also discovered that our suite wasn't properly sealed off from the garage under our suite and we were getting some leakage of exhaust in our suite, even though the garage is ventilated.  We sealed up the floor of our suite.  It helped, but didn't totally fix my smelling problem.

So what I discovered by accident is that when I take my vitamin B complex regularly it went away, and when I stop it comes back.  Perhaps I have a deficiency?  I don't know but it is a clear corellation in my experience.  I was taking it for stress problems, but it had other effects I didn't expect.

Ultimately, what I think this is, is a set of conditions that enflames or disrupts the natural function of the smell receptors, causing an extreme sensitivity to smells.  The interpretation of the overwhelming response to the odor comes through as a smoky smell, which is slightly different for each person (some smell burning wood, some smell exhaust, etc.).

I've read the whole thread and there are some patterns that might indicate what makes the sensitivity worse.  I am thinking that excessive blood flow to the nasal area are caused by various conditions (allergies, pollution/smog in the air or some other environmental factor such as a nearby grass fire, strong smells like perfume, sinus infections, etc. all of which were mentioned repeatedly in this thread).  

The other pattern is the stress issue.  I was EXTREMELY stressed when this was happening.  Now that the source of my stress is gone I now understand that I was two or three times more stressed than I realized at the time.  I think this is a major factor that further increases sensitivities (stress weakens so many of our bodies functions, and if it prevents you from sleeping you can bet the stress is going to have an exaggerated effect).  

It seems that whatever the issue is with me the vitamin B lessened the sensitivity.  I found this because I find it very hard to take vitamin B.  When I take tablets or capsules it makes me sick (again, I am very sensitive to the smell of vitamin B, and it makes me gag, and gives me indigestion), and I pee it all out (urine stinks horribly, smells the same as when I took the pill, so now I associate the smell of the pill with pee!!  So gross.).  So I decided to try a liquid vitamin B and took it regularly.  It tastes disgusting but I started feeling better immediately (more happy and relaxed, could manage day to day stress better), and didn't pee it all out as there was no smell when I went to the bathroom.  I think it's an absorption problem I am having with vitamin B, and so I suspect I am deficient in this vitamin.  Take an absorbable vitamin B and see if it helps.  It is good for stress management, so maybe that is how it is helping?  Incidentally, it also helped my tinnitis.  The ringing in my ears went away with the smell, and came back with the smell when I ran out of my liquid B vitamin.  I have read that ringing in the ears is a blood flow problem in the ears.

Hope this is useful for someone.
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I had the smoke smell sensation for a number of years. Taking zyrtec would help a little. I started taking magnesium and that helped even more. I didn't smell smoke anymore. I forgot about it. Then I read some good things about vitamin k2, and that cheese, natto and grass-fed dairy are good sources for k2. I thought, okay, I'll try eating some grass-fed butter. I'm not much of a butter person, but it's in a lot of things like cookies and goods from the bakery. In any case, I started using it every day on toast or waffles and that funky smoke smell returned. I quit butter all together, and it's been about 3 weeks and the dreaded smoke smell is gone again. Butter and me just don't get along.
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Thank you for some useful suggestions.  I too have had no help from my ENT - yet.  I am going back in a week and she says she will be researching this.
I do know with me, it is the presence of central air-conditioning.  I recently moved from NYC to Houston where I had window units in my apartment.  I never smelled it at home.  But at work, in a big office building, I would smell the smoke and complain to maintenance.  They were all polite, but never smelled anything.  I never thought about it again.  Just thought someone on another floor of the 70+ floor high rise was smoking and it was pouring out over me thru the vent.  Now... I see the similarities.  Here in Houston, I smell it in my office (again Maintenance guys were very polite, but found nothing), I smell it in my car (in NYC I rode the subway), and I smell it in my apartment that has central air conditioning.  I saw one post on another sight claiming leaking Freon from an AC to be the cause.
Only relief I get is when I stick my shirt over my head and take several breaths, then re-inhaling the carbon dioxide somehow eliminates that smoke smell for a bit.  I will return to this site and post any positive results that may be found by my ENT doc.
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With me it's a foul coffee grounds smell.  I guess it could resemble cigarette smoke. Anyway, it's awful, I've asked a couple of friends if I smell this way and they said no. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks guys
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