How Smoking Cigarettes Can Affect How You Enjoy Food—and What You Can Do About It
Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes is harmful to general wellbeing. You may already be familiar with smoking’s health risks, which this page on PublicHealth.org notes include different cancers, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease. After all, cigarettes contain thousands of toxic chemicals—including benzene, tar, and lead—that could gravely damage your body.
Although, did you know that smoking cigarettes can also disrupt your digestive system and even how you enjoy food? This probably comes as a surprise, especially since eating is something you do regularly. You may not have noticed anything—but it’s true!
To find out more about how smoking affects your food and what you can do about it, keep reading here:
How Smoking Cigarettes Can Affect How You Enjoy Food
Smoking alters the blood supply your taste buds receive, which changes their shape and abundance. That’s the main reason why you might not fully enjoy different flavors—a downside for foodies who like to try new things.
You may notice this more as you age, since your taste buds will naturally shrink over time. Combined with smoking, you may lose a significant part of your sense of taste altogether.
Next, smoking affects your gut bacteria. When your gut is imbalanced, the body struggles to absorb nutrients. More importantly, it can cause disorders like ulcers, heartburn, and GERD, taking away any enjoyment you get from eating and replacing it with discomfort and pain.
Finally, cigarette use impacts food preparation. Smoking while cooking lets cigarette toxins and carcinogens land on the food. Cigarette smoke can also linger for up to 5 hours, making it more likely to alter the taste of and nutrition present in your food.
If your food starts tasting like cigarette smoke, it can remove the enjoyment that comes with trying new flavors and recipes.
If you’re all for enjoying your food to the fullest, it’s thus best to cut down on or quit smoking altogether. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
How to Prevent Smoking from Altering Food Enjoyment
Eat Foods That Will Help You Quit
Believe it or not, eating certain foods can help you quit smoking by warding off cigarette cravings. This article from Tobacco-Free Life finds that milk, yogurt, and vegetables can make cigarettes taste worse, so eating them can discourage you from continuing the habit.
On the other hand, ginseng tea can reduce the pleasurable effects of smoking on your body. This could help you quit quicker, as you won’t find enjoyment in the habit anymore.
Finally, drinking water and fruit juice can keep your mouth busy and distract you when craving a cigarette. By including these foods in your diet, you can enjoy food while quitting smoking.
Conversely, some foods to avoid are meat, alcohol, and coffee. These can enhance and complement the taste of cigarettes, keeping you from successfully quitting smoking.
Gradually Quit Using Alternative Nicotine Products
Smokeless and tobacco-free nicotine products can help you quit gradually over time. That way, you can avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Two products you can consider are pouches and patches.
Nicotine pouches are oral products that go into the mouth for nicotine release. One notable brand you can try is ZYN. Its pouches contain nicotine salt, fillers, and sweeteners. If you’re concerned about your saliva, this post notes that it’s safe to swallow your spit when using ZYN nicotine pouches.
Due to their contents, they won’t have the same effects as the tobacco in cigarettes do on your digestive system. Meanwhile, nicotine patches go on your skin. You can try the ones from Habitrol. These can be worn for 24 hours and can be used while eating.
However, information on Habitrol patches cautions you may experience dizziness as an adverse reaction, affecting your food enjoyment. Prevent this by using them as instructed.
Use a Range Hood When Cooking
Since cigarette smoke can linger for extended periods, you’ll want proper ventilation to avoid any of the last cigarettes you smoked affecting your food. Our blog post thus recommends ductless range hoods to filter carcinogenic substances—including those from cigarettes—out of the air and prevent them from getting into your food.
If you don’t have one already, you can install ductless range hoods on walls, islands, or even inside a custom range hood. The Cosmo 63175S Wall Mount Range Hood provides efficient airflow, so you can guarantee it can remove cigarette smoke and odor. After you’ve kicked the habit, the range hood can enhance your overall kitchen experience even further.
To keep the air clean from any remaining cigarette smoke even when you’re not cooking, you can use an air purifier. Get one with a HEPA filter, like the Austin Air HealthMate HM400, to remove odor-causing air molecules. It also has a 15-pound adsorbent filter that can capture pollutants like formaldehyde, a chemical produced through cigarette use.
Smoking impacts how you eat and enjoy food. Continue eating joyfully and without worries by quitting the habit and keeping your cooking environment smoke-free.