odor of cigarette

Nurses General Nursing


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TracyB,RN, RN

646 Posts

Specializes in jack of all trades, master of none.

Yeah, I'm one of those lucky ones with a great sniffer. Oh, lucky me :)

I can also tell differences in smoke smells. Once at a friend's swimming, I kept smelling smoke. After a couple hours everyone had me convinced I was nuts. They kept telling me it was burning leaves. I kept saying it smelled electrical. this went on for hours, until a neighbor pulled up & started yelling " Kim, Joe, your house is on fire!!!!" Smoke & flames pouring out from the front eaves. turns out a wire in the attic had been the cause.

As an aside, if I am asleep, I will wake up if one of the dogs has a "smelly moment" I'm pretty sure it is the smell that wakes me.


2,719 Posts

I agree with all the other posters check out all sources mentioned. Here is one more.

Maby it is you! or some one in your house. Not smoking but carrying the odor from being around someone who does smoke. I and my husband both find we must change and wash our cloths and shower and shampoo after we have been near a smoker or in an enviorment where smoking has taken place (indoor or out) Other wise we can smell it until we do. no one has to be actively smoking at the time for us to pick it up on our hair, clothes and skin.


23 Posts

My brother was a heavy smoker. After he rode in my cloth seats - car it smelled of old smoke until the day I sold it!


6 Posts

My husband has been experiencing the same cigarette smoke smell. It began as something that would occur once in a while but recently he has been experiencing this phenomenon many times each day, in fact today it was almost constant. He says it is like being in a car with all the windows closed while someone is smoking a cigarette. He says the smell is strong, that it feels real, and that at times it almost seems hard to breathe. He says the sensation is such that he can feel the smoke enter his nostrils and travel into his throat and lungs. Does anyone have any ideas as to what this can be? Is it possibly a symptom of some sort of physiological condition? Thanks for any help you can give us!

hmmm how strange i smell smoke in my apt. all the time but its bercause my downstairs nieghbor smokes ......but why would you if you or no one in your house smokes unless one of your kids is smoking that is the only thing that makes sense.


6 Posts

No one smokes in our house, besides he experiences this even when he is alone in the car (which no one has ever smoked in). I think it is an olfactory hallucination--but what is causing it?


404 Posts

I would think it's something to do with whatever circulates the air in your apt.. At work when winter starts and people are using the fireplaces the vents will bring in a smoke smell.

Now if you are having this problem in different places, I wouldn't know what to think.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

I think I would check the ventilation system and let your apartment owner know so they can do a once over of your electrical system.



239 Posts


I've been having the same experience your husband has. Can feel the slight burn in the nostrils and sometimes the sensation of difficulty breathing. I used to think it was a neighbor smoking outside, but it's begun to happen in my car and other places where there would not be any lingering smoke. I've considered going to my doctor about it, but it just seems too trivial.


Specializes in Telemetry, Case Management.

I wonder if you or someone who lives with you hangs around with a smoker. No one is allowed to smoke in my house, two of my grown kids do, but they have to go outside. BUT my grandmother who smokes like a chimney carries the smell on her. And if you go to her house, even if she isn't smoking or isn't even home, when we get back to our house we have to wash our hair and change clothes because the smoky smell lingers. Does someone at your house leave their jacket at work or school near a place where smokers congregate? That could be enough to carry the odor home.


1,326 Posts

When I was in college I was a pack a day smoker for about 2 years. My 3 roommates and I would smoke like fiends. Funny, I didn't notice the smell of cigatette smoke or nicotine.

Now that I haven't been smoking for about 7 years I can smell a smoker a mile a way. If I am driving in my car I can smell the person three cars ahead of me smoking in their car.

If I am sitting in my house, with the windows closed even, I can smell the people across the street and down two doors on their front porch smoking.

I notice that the smells stays in my nose for a long time too.

The only thing I can think of is that someone somewhere is indeed smoking and some of these people are picking it up. You would be surprised how far that smell carries in a closed in building. It can be carried through the walls, electrical outlets, vents, etc.

For some of the other people we have heard about, I am stumped. I would be concerned if I was them and I consistently had that smell and it was strong. The only other thing I can come up with is if they are having problems with their sinuses, ie. allergies, sinus pressure, etc. that is setting it off. Maybe they have a deep and undetected sinus infection. You can have a sinus infection and still be able to function and not present with any "typical" symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, etc.


269 Posts

PEOPLE who sleep through fires are often over come by toxic fumes. It takes only 1 minutes of a couch burning for the fumes to be so toxic that the can kill you. If it's not the toxic fumes it's the carbon monoxide.

I don't believe that your nose turns off.

Also check your clothing for the smell of the smoke you may have picked it up from someone smoking near you at an outing.

Good luck

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