Poster Topical Area: Diet and Cancer
Poster Board Number: 220
Objective: To identify associations between cigarette-smoking history/dependence and taste function in a nationally-representative sample of US adults.
Methods: In NHANES 2013-2014, 3556 adults (40+ years) reported tongue-tip and whole-mouth intensities of bitter (1mM quinine) and salt (1M NaCl) tastants on the general Labeled Magnitude Scale (range 0 to 100). Participants self-reported cigarette-smoking status (current, former or never smokers), history (pack years, PY) and dependence [time to first cigarette (TTFC) upon waking]. Linear regression models estimated associations between measures of smoking history/cigarette dependence and taste intensities, after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education and income-poverty ratio.
Results: Nearly half of the sample were former or current smokers (46.8%).Tongue-tip intensities averaged below 'moderate' (14.9 ± 14.8) for bitter and between 'moderate' and 'strong' intensity for NaCl (26.9 ± 16.7). Chronic smokers (≥20 PY) reported diminished bitter sensations on the tongue-tip (12.6 ± 13.0) compared to never smokers (15.7 ± 15.2) and those with <20 PY of smoking (14.6 ± 14.8), yet the differences were not significant after adjusting for socio-demographics. Compared to never smokers, current smokers with high dependency (TTFC <30 minutes), chronic smokers with high dependency (≥20 PY & TTFC <30 minutes) and chronic smokers with history of heavy alcohol drinking (≥20 PY & 4+ drinks/day) had significantly diminished bitter and salt intensities on the tongue-tip, even after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders; adjusted βs (95% CI) for quinine tongue-tip intensities were -1.8 (-3.4, -0.1), -2.7 (-3.9, -1.4) and -2.8 (-4.7, -1.0), respectively. Corresponding βs (95% CI) for 1 M NaCl were -4.6 (-8.5, -0.7), -4.1 (-7.8, -0.4) and -3.5 (-7.3, 0.3), respectively. Consistent associations were not observed with whole-mouth taste intensities.
Conclusion: Chronic cigarette smoking with or without heavy drinking associated with lower taste and salt intensities on the tongue-tip, but not whole mouth. Smoking could alter taste directly via insults to sensory process and indirectly via exposure to related pathologies.
Jersey City, New Jersey