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.
I thought I was going insane! I am perfectly healthy, no medications being taken for anything, blood pressure is fine, kidney's are fine, and still I am smelling cigerette smoke for the past 8 weeks, sometimes it gets so strong it almost smells/tastes like ammonia. I am hoping someone Has answers here. I looked up phantosmia, and I am taking it with me to the doctors next week. I will keep everyone posted
In an olfactory hallucination (phantosmia), you detect smells that are not really present in your environment.
The smells detected in phantosmia vary from person to person. Phantosmia and olfactory delusions may also occur in people with Alzheimer's disease. Although rare, phantosmia can occur as a symptom prior to a migraine.
There is also some evidence to suggest that phantosmia can arise due to a disorder of the smell receptor system rather than the central nervous system.
This can occur with some medications( cold medications) which shrink the blood vessels in the nose and could thus stimulate the reflex which is perceived by the brain as the sense of smell.
Thanks for the answer, This did come on right after a 5 day major sinus infection, and taking mucinex (sp?) and IBprofen (sp?) Another person pointed me to Anosmia, but I can smell some things still, just seem to have a smoke/ammonia scent to it as well. On my hunny moom last month it was horrible, because I couldn't enjoy any of the food. Is there something to get my nose back to normal?
Well add me to the list on the cigarette smoke. It comes and goes and it is so strong it is like lighting a fresh cigarette. Not like second hand smoke or smoke on clothes. It seem deep in the nasal cavity. Mine has been happening for 7 months and it last for 5 mins and comes back every so often. Sometimes it is really strong that I can almost taste it. I am seeing a neurologist on the 25th of July. A little history on me: Ex smoker about 15 years ago and on metropol for high blood pressure, and my age is 43. Since this is happening for 7 months in Minnesota, we had snow, spring, and now summer, so elliminate pollen.
I have been smelling smoke for about a month now. It's awful. I hate the smell of smoke. If I was going to smell something all the time why couldn't it be fresh baked bread or something that smells good. I do not smoke myself and am never around smoke. I also am on metropol for high blood pressure and am 46 years old. I have been to the doctor and he said it could be a sinus infection but then ruled that out with an x-ray. He says he does not know what the problem is.
I have no idea what to do but this is really beginning to worry me.
OK, I thought I was going crazy. I HATE the smell of cigarettes! And now it's happening all the time. My nutritional MD said he couldn't help and referred me to a neurologist to see if I have a brain tumor. I go in tomorrow and I'm hoping they don't find anything... but then I have to live with this horrid odor! Did anyone find out ANYTHING yet?
I too same problem only mine is more of a wood fire? I don't smell cigarettes but definatly smoke 7 days now I'm 27 no meds. no one else smells it but it is very strong to me, like standing next to a bonfire. When looking for answers I found you.
I can that add my experience is exactly to that of (iwantsone 9 July 2008) above, and started only abut two weeks ago. What pompted this search now, is that as I sit here this moment i am in the presence of cherry tobacco. a fresh smell, as though someone was smoking in the same or very next room as myself. The smell has been of different tobacco types at other times. No one in our home smokes.
I began smelling cigarette smoke about 2 years ago. I went to an ENT specialist about a year ago and he scoped my nasal cavity and did a CAT scan. No polypps or tumors were found. Beyond that he had no explanation. When the smell comes for me it is very strong (almost to the point of making my naseous). It’s really bad when I’m trying to fall asleep.
I’ve had 2 yrs to try to figure this out now and, for me, it clearly seems to be stress related. When I’m stressed out it comes on. I also have bad allergies, but I don’t believe the allergies are the sole cause. I really don’t think they are a factor at all. I strongly feel my phantom smell is triggered by stress. Next step for me is to find ways to deal with my stress and see if that helps.
I suddenly, for about a year now, feel disgusted by the smell of frying oil, and sometimes the smell of sweat comes out of no where. The same sensations I had during pregnancy, and when sick with stomach flu for 10 days. During pregnancy and during flu I've been very dehydrated, nauseous, so, perhaps, severe dehydration, and loss of minerals from the body causes smell distortion. Also, I've been using breath mints a lot last year, they also constrict vessels around mouth and respiratory system, kind of like certain medicines would do, including nasal spays, so, may be, all those reasons together contribute to condition.
If you wear glasses and have plastic on the frames it will absorb odors. I have had this problem for years and finally figured out it was the little pads on the nose of my frames. This gets worse in warm weather. So when I start smelling something repeatedly, I have new pads put on and the problem goes away. Hope this helps some of you.
Just had a MRI yesterday for lower back pain. I too detect a strange smell from time to time. I am a smoker (sorry, I'm working on quitting). The smell that I sense is not of cigarette smoke but a sweet chemical smell. Someone in another forum described it as an alien like smell. I've never smelled an alien (martian) before but if I did, this smell would most likely fit the bill.
Oh dear, I was hoping to find some answers as to why I smell cigarette smoke but although many people seem to have the same problem, there do not seem to be any answers.
Mine started about 7 years ago. We had just moved into a new home and I at first thought our new neighbors were smoking in their yard, but then learned they didn't smoke. I began to feel paranoid......was there somebody living in my attic space, smoking and it was coming thru the vents, but when I started smelling it when in my car or in a store, I started looking for other answers. I went to an ear,nose, throat specialist and he said he'd never heard of anything like this.
I have never smoked, nor does anyone in my family or social life. It is so strong sometimes that my eyes will water and my throat will feel sore.
The only common connection I can see is that I am on blood pressure medication.......Benicar. Otherwise, I am in very good health.
I could just take most or all of your symptoms aand say yes I have those too...driving me crazy and making me ill!...any news on what these smells may be?.....also my lips and nose burn when the smells are strong..... and yes i agree why not fresh baked donuts of coffee or something plesant and not gross
Well, I must say I am surprised. I thought it was just me... I have been smelling cigarette smoke on and off for almost two years. Sometimes it seems like I am licking an ashtray, it's so strong.
I haven't smoked for years ( quit in 2000) and am not around anyone who smokes. My house and car are smoke free ( no smoking allowed)
Hello, I had this problem as well. MY GOD it was painful. Anyway I think I know what was causing it. Because it seems to be less now. But I have just started so I will wait a few days to see how it goes. For now, it is helping. If you think it might help you too, let me know I'm happy to tell. Thanks Sarah ***@****
Can anyone please tell me what you think the constant smelling of cigarette smoke is? I just picked up a cold from someone at work with an annoying cough. I started smelling the cigarette smoke at the same time I got the cold. I am an avid anti-smoker so there is no possibility of any cigarette smoke in my environment. This is driving me crazy and it has only been 3 days. I can't imagine having this issue for years as mentioned in some of the posts.
I am on Benicar for high blood pressure as well as Toprol XL. I take Crestor for cholesterol too. I have been on these medicines for several years and don't believe there is a connection there. Any information or help will be appreciated.
I am in no way a doctor, nor do I know anything about this topic. However, after reading these comments, it seems high blood pressure should be investigated a little more. Several of you mentioned being on medication for it, although the medication varied. Have any of the others of you had yours checked lately. It may be totally irrelevant, but I think it's worth a look. Dr_Aparna mentioned that a likely cause is shrunken blood vessels in the nose. I don't know anything about this, but I could see a connection between shrunken blood vessels and high blood pressure. I'm looking at this in a mechanical way. In order to maintain flow, pressure would have to increase if the discharge (blood vessels) of a pump (the heart) was shrunken. I don't know exactly what causes high blood pressure, but I would at least bring this up to you doctors.
P.S. I don't have the same problem. I actually found this because I have a similar problem, but with the smell of chalk. I do, however, smoke; so the smell of smoke would not be noticeable. I too have high blood pressure (I'm only 24). I don't go to the doctor ever (don't really know why). The last time I went was to the ER because I couldn't walk, but that's a completely different subject.
This was a little longer than I planned it to be, sorry.
Oh wow, I really thought I was losing it! This thread and others like it at least have made me feel validated. I, too smell cigarette smoke or it can also be likened to a very strong coffee or burnt coffee ground smell in my nose. I do drink coffee every day, but I quit smoking 13 years ago and hate cigarette smoke...now I'm living with it every day. I'm 46, low to average blood pressure, I take Protonix for pretty bad acid reflux, I'm constantly clearing my throat and live on cough drops to loosen my phlegm, but I do not have a running or mucous nose, I have a mild case of asthma yet have been using my inhaler often this past year and feeling very heavy in the chest. With all that said, I'm still in pretty good shape and relatively healthy. I just wish someone had an answer….
I have this problem too. For 5 months now. I thought it might have been related to serious mold exposure but now I'm not sure. It started when I was exposed to a massive amount of second hand cig smoke every night. It has never went away since. My nose burns, my throat hurts and my eyes sting. Every time I exhale i smell this gross stuff. The reason I smell it seems to be that I'm exhaling it. My left lung also hurts like hell and has for 5 months. The air sacs in my lower left lung area are swollen and will not go back down all the way. This was confirmed in an xray. Thank you second hand cigarette smoke, you've ruined my life. Now I can't even turn on a heater without this smell coming back to haunt me.
I have had this phantom smell condition for almost 10 years. At first it was only once in awhile but now it is almost constant. I have seen several drs...none know what can be causing it. Have been checked for brain tumors, sinus infections. It is not blood pressure related: I have LOW bp. Am in great health, physically fit, take NO meds of any kind. I do suffer from migraines and it has been suggested this is an olfactory migraine. I have taken migraine med for it, but it only helps when I haven't smelled smoke for a few days and then as soon as I start smelling it I take the migraine med. I smell cigarette, burning plastic, campfire/wood smoke, burning leaves, electrical fire, burning rope....It makes my nose burn, sometimes my eyes burn. I would so like to be free of it....
Broken record but, I too am so glad I'm not going crazy & there are others with the same issue! I have been smelling cigarette smoke for weeks now. I don't smoke but was in someone's apartment who smokes indoors...it seems to have been since then that I am smelling it. Nothing else in my life has changed. I am a 28-yr old Caucasian female. I have had sinus infections in the past and migraines for over 20 years but I have been free & clear of them for many months (knock on wood) and have no other symptoms whatsoever. I started on a low dose of zoloft about a month ago (postpartum depression) but am not on any other medications. I am very rarely on the computer (for those who are wondering if their laptops are the cause) and had not been on it for almost two weeks when this began; so for me this does not seem to be related. (I am even writing this via cell phone). We have a very "green" household. Green cleaners & I use vinegar in lieu of fabric softener. My baby has been congested after having a cold, so we run a humidifier nightly. I have begun using saline spray and a neti pot, to no avail. I have not seen a doctor about this. No matter where I go (different states & even countries! friends and family's homes, multiple vehicles, inside, outside, night or day...) it smells like a burning cigarette or an ashtray. I have 1 or 2 cups of coffee each day but, I have done that for years so I am highly doubtful there is any relation for me. I am a stay-at-home mom so workplace cleaners are not a factor. I can smell everything else just fine- my keen sense of smell has not been affected. Sometimes it goes away briefly. Sometimes it is weak. Sometimes it is so strong that my eyes sting from it. So strange!!
I can't believe I am not the only one!!!!!! Almost every day 5 times a day at least I smell smoke, sometimes it smells like burning plastic, or burnt food, but always something burning! I thought I was going nuts! I take alot of vitamins, and an antacid every day for heart burn, I was told I may have a gall bladder issue. I also was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 2 months ago, and it's been since then that I have been smelling the smoke. I thought it was maybe related, and I certainly am under an ENORMOUS amount of stress for the past couple of years, more so for the past 10 months or more. I hope we all can find a cause and FIX IT!
hi there i am deelighted to find out that i am not alone, but now worried there is no answer or cure for this, i too have this smell and its driving me nuts as i too hate cigarets and never have, i have verging on low blood pressure tho i always have and its normal for me no medication required, i have however been diagnosed with underactive thyroid and have been taking medicine for this, for 9 months now, i do seem to have runny eyes from time to time and have been stressed for a few months and must admit thats when it started, i dont believe that it is stress, and funnily enough i apparantly am starting to make snore type noises at night which is quite embarassing as im female, its weird tho that someone mentiond rhumetoid arthritis as my parents and aunts have been diagnosed with this and i asked my doc for a bone density test and was refused as i am too young, however the weird smell came later, the funny thing about this is i am so anti smoking and my teenage son was caught trying cigarets and i was puting this smell down to god trying to send me signals, so i am glad i am not alone but feel sorry for u all as its horrid has anyone had a weird taste too?
I knew there was a problem! I just assumed it was something in our home.We always have the windows and doors open to allow fresh air in but figured it was something outside coming in.We live in close proximity to several dairies.Then I started smelling it in the car! I've seen the myriad possibilites but because I have suffered allergies since my twenties,(now fifty), I think it may be related to that.I take Zyrtec,Chlortrimeton,Tylenol Sinus,Mucinex,and several other sinus remedies.Though not all at the same time of course.It doesn't affect my normal sense of smell but it always seems to linger in the background.Like the smell of hickory smoke at a barbecue restaurant.But not nearly as pleasant.I want to thank everyone for sharing thier stories.One other thing I want to mention is that I have noticed sore finger joints for the last few months.One person mentioned the diagnosis of arthritis.Maybe that's my issue.I would hate to have arthritis but it at least would be a relief to have an answer.Good luck everyone.
I just started having this problem about 2 weeks ago. I thought it was strange but discounted it. Now the smell of smoke is with me a lot and of course, I dont like it. I'm thinking it could be a fungus or some type of irritant that got in my nose. I realize that simple cleaning of the sinus cavity (the lower ones) won't help, that's what I read. I am thinking to do the shower thing which I read about which is to cleanse my sinus passages by bending over in the shower (can't quite figure it out yet) and let the water run into the nasal passages, you have to be sure you won't get dizzy and fall, of course. But I keep thinking it's an infection from something that might have gotten into my nose or from dental work. it's annoying and I worry that if it's a fungus or viral thing it will travel to my brain and heart. Oh well ... I'm 66 years old and I figure I gotta die at some point, but I'd rather not do it now. :-) From the posts here it seems that visiting an ENT person won't help much, I might have my teeth looked at and start taking garlic. I also am going to look up more information about natural remedies for cleaning out my sinuses. Thank you all for your comments. P.S. tonight I thought I was having a heart attack because my chest began tightening up but I took an aspirin and some warm noncaffeinated tea and the symptoms subsided.
Nothing helps. I put stuff around my nostrils so I can sleep. Nothing helps, though. I have heard that Downy fabric softener may be the culprit, but I am more suspecting the mold exposure that I got when we brought home a bad smelling dishwasher (I'm the only one allergic enough to mold to have been bothered.) It has persisted constantly now for almost two weeks. The smell is like diesel or exhaust or burnt bacon grease. I am a singer, and this is really affecting me. I hope someone has an answer. I already rinse my sinuses with the bottle method (have for about a year now) twice a day for allergies. I have used downy for about two months, and have stopped and am rewashing all my clothes. The moldy dishwasher is in our garage and we're washing dishes by hand, because it is NOT coming back in unless it's pristine clean. OH, why doesn't someone have an answer for this. It's a quality of life issue, and someone has to know what "it" is.
I am a 46 year old female and I really believe that this issue is a Stress related condition. The reason that I say that is because I have been under job stress for the past few days, I began to have shortness of breath, chest tightens up and started smelling cigarette smoke in my home, work and also in my car. It is hard for me to fall asleep at night, but once I am asleep, I am fine. I have been this way before in the past is the reason that I truly believe that it is a form of stress, at least that is what I hope it is and not something that I am going to have to be bothered with for the rest of my life because I do intend on being here for a LONG time! :) If it doesn't go away, I guess I too will be paying the Dr. a visit to see what may be going on.
Thought I was the only one! Alittle of my back ground that maybe someone else may share. I Have never smoked tobacco. I take Nexium, Skelaxin and have migraines when the weather changes. About 2 weeks ago I developed a bad cough, started taking Mucinex and then most recently Zocor for cholestorol. Now The cigarette smoke/smell is all around me day and night, even in the shower and everywhere-where I know there is NO smoke! I hate it!! I can think of only one smell I could live the rest of my life stuck in my head, but my girlfriend and I broke up 5 years ago!
i searched for others with this problem & was glad to find them because my family are urging me to go to the drs but if all you are alive & kicking with all the medical problems you have then perhaps it is an annoyance i will have to put up with as i am not on the meds you all are on to write it off to, i just have meds for asthma, cholesterol & acid reflux BUT if someone finds a cause or a cure, please let me know
I too have the same smell AFTER I get into an environment where there have been smokers. My friend smokes pot and he always is astounded that I can smell the residual odor. Cigarettes do the same thing to me. I get sick, sinus and odor in my nasal cavities. I am beginning to believe that second hand smoke has ruined my life too. I get stressed when I smell this odor and it does not go away unless I am in a clean environment. I am about ready to leave my boyfriend because he refuses to believe that I can smell anything since he goes outside. I have explained about exhaling and release of molecules. He is an attorney, so he is going to taint the story to most benefit him. I HATE SMOKE and SMOKERS ARE INCONSIDERATE.
Have read a lot of the smoke smell stories and it has really helped me. I now realise it must be due to the virus I had a week or so ago... that seems to be a common theme.
I don't believe for me it's anything to do with a brain tumour.
The remedy that seems to have worked for others is washing the nose out with saline solution about three times a day. I have a salt pipe that I feel will probably do the same job.
If you don't know - salt pipes cure persistant coughs (the reason I bought one) and also enable people with asthma to avoid steroids.
Can't wait for the smell to go!!
Have just posted but what I forgot to mention is that my daughter has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (serious case) therefore we have no harmful chemicals in our home, we also have air purifiers, dehumidifiers and air sterilisers. Everything is cleaned regularly and there is not a hint of mould. You can imagine my fear when I started smelling strong, sooty smoke. Air purifiers show air is clean and I was very confused. I,m sure my problem is related to the virus I had.
I do not take any medication, so it's not that for me either.
Hope this is helpful.
In case this is helpful to any other sufferer... I got out my previously forgotten salt pipe (eldest daughter suggested it might work.) used it watching tv last night and then again reading in bed. Used it for a short time in bed this morning. Did not expect dramatic recovery!! Last night as I tried to go to sleep the strong sooty, smoky smell was at it's worst.
I was pottering in the kitchen this morning when I realised I didn't have the awful smell any more!! The smell has returned briefly a couple of times and I have used the salt pipe for a few minutes.
I am very hopeful now that it will work permanently in time.
Cigarette smoke smell has bothered me for years... pay attention to your health. This may sound crazy but this is what I realized. Whenever I do not get enough rest or I do not eat proper meals for a few days, I get this cigarette smell in my nose! IT DRIVE ME CRAZY!!!!! I do not have to go out or anything like that. A lack of rest or a lack of veggies and it returns and stay for dayssssss!!!!!!! WHAT IS IT FROM???? I GUESS NO ONE KNOWS! Just a bunch of guessing... We are not CRAZY!!!! IT"S A REAL SMELL AND I KNOW IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH OUR BODIES PROCESSING SYSTEM>>> NOT A SINUS PROBLEM... HELP!!!!
Cigarette smoke smell has bothered me for years... pay attention to your health. This may sound crazy but this is what I realized. Whenever I do not get enough rest or I do not eat proper meals for a few days, I get this cigarette smell in my nose! IT DRIVE ME CRAZY!!!!! I do not have to go out or anything like that. A lack of rest or a lack of veggies and it returns and stay for dayssssss
Cigarette smoke smell has bothered me for years... pay attention to your health. This may sound crazy but this is what I realized. Whenever I do not get enough rest or I do not eat proper meals for a few days, I get this cigarette smell in my nose! IT DRIVE ME CRAZY!!!!! I do not have to go out or anything like that. A lack of rest or a lack of veggies and it returns and stay for dayssssss
Have sometimes had the same brief sensation when I get close to my wife (who doesn't smoke and hates its smell). Rather than a phantom smell, it seems to be real and correlates with her use of "miracle shine spray" with noni oil under the label "Its a 10." After a few hours the floral fragrance is dispalced by the rancid smell of lingering cigarette smell. If you are nuts, so am I and my wife.
Thank God there's more of you out there... thought I was going mad. I've been smelling smoke for about two months now. No changes to my health or living habits. My wife and kids can't understand what I'm talking about. No health problems, other than a little over-weight. Not on any medication. Can smell this at home, in the car and in work and all are smoke free zones. Never been a smoker, but have come from a family of smokers. Going for a check up at the doctors, but don't hold out much hope looking at everyones posts. If I do get any suggestions I'll let you know....
I think JGroove has a point about this coz i too have the same problem and if i dont eat or sleep well, i get badly affected and smell would produced. Sometimes its smoke, sometimes it is dried saliva or even some stale smell. I have to shut my windows and doors when i go to bed coz it goes through my neighbours!!!!!!! They seem to get irritated with this smell im carrying. It usually occurs when i dont have enough sleep, very tired eyes or not eating good diet plus also stress can produce major contribution for this smell. So i quit my job of 4 years coz i couldnt carrying this smell/emotion/society... But the funny thing is no one can smell a thing, however others would react to it ex; coughing, clearing of throat, nose runs and others have to put deodorant on and the worst part is even my dog sniff around if I am staring at her in a hiding place, it is depressing socially especially... I have look into it to see if it is part of kidney or organs failing but i dont seem to have luck. If there is anyone there, please feel free to email or whatever. However you guys seems to have the same problem and i dont know how you guys can even work? on these conditions.. it is suicidal... but I have to force myself to work coz i am getting blamed for laziness by others... If anyone has got any idea please help.
Hi! I'm just adding my two cents in regarding the phantom cigarette smell in the nose. I've been noticing the past year that there are times that I cannot smell or taste a thing but I definitely perceive the smell of cigarettes INSIDE my nose. I do not smoke, never have, do not work or live with smokers. My observation has made me realize that this happens before a sinus infection for me. I had that horrible smell for 2 weeks before any sinus pressure began. Sure enough a month later I was on antiobiotics for a wicked sinus infection. I thought I was having residual side effects from my Flonase - but it happened a few more times. It is my warning signal that an infection is brewing and I know that until the smell goes away, I still have it. Also, prior to an asthma attack I get an itch deep inside my right lung and along my right side at the waist. It's nice to know that we are not crazy and that others experience similar symptoms.
Okay, just want to join the "thank God, I'm not crazy" brigade. In March of 2010, I got a really bad cold. I lost my sense of taste and smell. I got the taste back, but not the smell at first. Then I started smelling a hot grease on the stove smell, now it has progressed to a wood burning smell or burning leaves. Let's all hope the next step is not where has the dog pooped smell.
Pall Mall anyone? I can't take much more of this. I'm now putting perfume up my nose and it works for a bit, then back to smoke-filled room!!
Had sinus clean out and deviated septum fixed maybe two years ago now. No blood pressure problems but do have allergies and asthma and take Advair and generic prilosec. Motrin a lot.
I used 75/25 parts bleach/water to clean kids' bathroom out last night and could not smell the chlorine at all. Taste is affected here and there. It all comes and goes a lot.
I've experienced a strong woodsmoke smell on and off for over a year, pretty well daily, but not all the time. It's not a cigarette smoke smell. I used to smoke and liked it, but gave up for health reasons 8 years ago. I generally enjoy the smell of wood burning, as long as there actually is some wood burning...
I spotted many close similarities between my symptoms and some others here. The guy who smells it most at night while he's working on his website sounded just like me! Also sometimes it's like unpleasantly strong burnt coffee, sometimes like burning leaves. Sometimes it's very acrid and overpowering, like creosote burning. It is a very real experience, exactly like the real thing. It can go away as quickly as it comes, and sometimes it's in the background all day. I don't think it's a nose or allergy problem, but something in my brain that's a symptom of something else. I have extremely high cholesterol, so who knows... no knowledgeable medical advice in the entire thread, I notice. Figures.
I don't know how long I've been experiencing this foul smell coming from my nose, but I feel like it's related to my internal organs and connected to stress. I smell it periodically all day off and on and it really bothers by self esteem at work. I am a very clean person, but the smell can make you seem like you are not. No one will come to me and tell me what they think they smell, but my co-workers seem to react to the stench by coughing, clearing their throats or spraying perfumes etc. I even went to the doctor and told a male and female doctor and they both told me they didn't smell anything and one asked me did I talk to martians inferring I am crazy. Glad you to see you sharing your stories, but no one has a explanation for this problem. I too feel like quitting my job, but have to survive and don't know what to do.
I have experienced this for my first time tonight. It was intensely potent. On the car ride back home I kept asking my boyfriend if he smelled anything funny. I could describe it only as having a faint burning rubber smell, among many other components that I could not name. He still has no idea what I am talking about and thinks that I am overreacting for looking it up on the internet. But it was so real and so vivid to my senses. I smelled it. It was there. I am 22 years old and a cig smoker.. but otherwise perfectly healthy. It did not smell like what I smell as a cigarette.. but it was burning smell.. rubber/wood/who knows what else. I smelled it violently and I am desperate for answers that aren't telling me I'm close to a stroke or have future Alzheimer's disease. Like I said, my boyfriend thinks I am taking this over the edge but I have never experienced anything like it before so naturally I am freaked out.
I have the same problem: cigarette smoke smell, intermittent but lasting for days when I smell it, deep in my nasal cavity. I was concerned that the supplements I take might have a role in it. Just to see if there is any commonality with others here, I take:
- Fiber supplements
- Fish and Flax oil pills
- A Multi-vitamin
- VItamin B Complex pill
- One baby aspirin
- Green Tea extract
I suspect the resveratrol might be responsible. I'll stop when my current supply runs out for a month or so and see if I notice any difference.
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.
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.
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 !!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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!!
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 :/.
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!
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.
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?
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????
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?
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']
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.
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.
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! :)
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.
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.
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
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?
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!!
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?
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.
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.
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
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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