Why do some smokers smell more "smoky" than others?

That’s how the term *mufti *meaning civilian duds as opposed to military uniforms came about. A mufti is an Islamic scholar authorized to give legal opinions (fatwas—the words mufti and *fatwa *are derived from the same Arabic root, FTW). When Victorian or Edwardian-era British army officers would relax in their downtime, they would wear smoking caps, smoking jackets, and slippers. This was seen to resemble the skullcap, robes, and slippers of an Islamic official.

It’s all about airflow. If you’re getting a strong smokiness, you’re smoker is likely smothering the flame, producing more soot than smoke. Open your vents a little more, and lower the amount of wood you’re putting on the fire. Also, don’t soak your wood - it’s a misnomer that you need to do that. All that likely does is contribute to the sootiness environment of your smoker.


I wonder if I met your sister on an Amtrak trip, back in 2009. During a smoke stop, I talked with a fellow smoker who told me she did all that stuff. She was a piano teacher and didn’t want her students to be exposed to the smell. I especially remember the shower cap.

Yeah, I think all us smokers smell. Some less than others, maybe because of daily showers/hair washing, not wearing the same clothes more than once, liberal use of Febreze, mouthwash, etc.

I know my house smells. When I’m gone for a few hours, I can tell. My daughter’s house smells like smoke and Lemon Pledge. My grandparents’ house smelled like Prince Albert and bacon.

If I melt a Yankee Candle wax tart, that scent will overpower the smoke – for awhile.

We stink. We have to face it, but do what we can to mitigate it as much as we can.

On a related topic, I have kissed (off the top of my head) 3 smokers. Two of them always tasted just fine; one was like licking an ashtray. I could never figure out the reason for the difference.

3 reasons:

  1. Whether they smoke in an enclosed space or not.

  2. How they smoke. A smoker who keeps the cigarette between their fingers, with the ember facing outward, and keeps their hand away from their body will smell less than a person who cups their cigarette in their palm or constantly keeps it in their mouth.

  3. Post smoke hygiene. Some will use breath mints, wash their hands, etc, after they smoke. Some won’t.

Also, if the smoker is one who keeps halfway smoked butts within the pack in his shirt pocket - they will smell bad regardless of the above 3 conditions. Something about a halfway burnt cigarette is pungent.

Having questioned a few of the non-stinky smoking co-workers, they did agree that even they can smell the stinky co-workers. I am pretty sure that the two worst offenders in the office must smoke in the their house and car.

I think this is true. And schizophrenics and depressives have a particular body smell/chemistry. Combine this with the self-medication of smoking and THAT is a nasty odor.

Lord yeh.

I believe that polyester clothing greatly increases the amount of odor that sticks to the smoker.

Yep, same here. It’s funny, at work, I can get on the elevator, be completely alone and know that the people previously on said elevator were smokers because of the smell.

I disagree with theories of smokers losing ability to smell or becoming immune to tobacco smoke smell. If that’s case, I’m opposite.

I’ve been smoking for over 30 years, and just about everyone around me smoked (WWII generation especially) since I was little, over 50 years ago. I’m from the era when the majority smoked & no one complained about it. There’d be butts on the floor of the supermarket, airplanes had a smoking section, & you could even light up in the hospital. That’s a long time being exposed to tobacco smoke.

It wasn’t until the last 10 years or so that even though I smoke, I noticed I couldn’t stand the smell.

It got to the point I quit smoking in my vehicles. I resigned smoking indoors to one room with an opening to fresh air, or going outside. I even began wearing a set of clothing that was only for smoking. I no longer smoke in public.

In younger days, everyone I hung out with smoked & we’d ride around in a car all night smoking with the window just cracked, & it was fine. When I was in the service, nearly everyone smoked (chain-smoked). No one complained about smell. I never remember it fouling my uniform. Aboard ship most everyone smoked in enclosed small spaces, including berthing areas, & I never recall any unbearable offensive odor. I smoked in my barracks room with the door & windows shut & never remember it stinking up the place.

I drove big rigs & would go thru 2 packs in a 10 hour period & I never remember the cab smelling foul. When I had co-drivers along, they smoked too & although I remember a cloud of hazy smoke, I don’t recall my clothes or truck cab smelling bad.

The only place in the old days I remember smelling peculiar was bowling alleys. There’d always be a fog of smoke in a bowling alley & when I came home I’d notice the aroma of cigarettes/lane oil on my clothes. It was specific.

The only other time I recall foul tobacco smell was when I worked for this company & the boss let me use his car & he was a habitual cigar smoker. I got the dry heaves when I got behind the wheel because his car stunk so bad.

Nowadays if I have more than one cig in an enclosed space, I can’t stand the smell.

I don’t know what happened in the last 10 years to tobacco that now I can’t stand the smell. Possibly a change in formula? Maybe the gov’t enacted some sort of regulations with the recipe? Maybe they’ve added something to get people stop. I’m just saying, as smoker, I’ve noticed tobacco smoke smells more foul to me now than it did 15, 20, 30 years ago.

The smell was a more powerful incentive for me to quit than anything else. I was one of those smokers so paranoid about the smell that I basically donned a Hazmat suit every time I had a cigarette. The effort was not worth the reward, especially in the winter.

I can usually tell just walking past someone if they are a smoker. My cube mate at work is a smoker and when she comes back from her breaks, it almost gags me. I don’t know if she smokes a ‘bad’ brand or what, but I have never smelled worse cigarette reek.

I was driving behind somebody on the highway this past Friday and the three of us (wife, daughter, and myself) could smell their cigarettes, even with both vehicles approaching 70mph. When we passed the pickup in front of us… no more smell.

And this wasn’t the first time that’s happened, either.

This. Minus the couch anecdote. I wash my hands after every cig. Only smoke outside. Only smoke occasionally as it is.

To me it smells like somebody dumped perfume into an ashtray.

I think brand has a lot to do with it. I have always thought Camel filters were one of the worst.

My parents used to smoke Carltons which were supposed to be very low tar/nicotine but I thought they were among the nastiest smelling, especially the extinguished butts.

Many people I work with are surprised to learn I smoke, since according to them, I don’t ever smell like smoke. For me, I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, so I only smoke outside, preferably while moving, so I don’t stand in a cloud of my own smoke. I wash my face and hands and brush my teeth after every cigarette. I only smoke a few times during a shift anyway, so it’s not that big a deal. There are 4 of us who smoke in our department; 3 never smell of smoke but the 4th one often smells like an ashtray.

I believe there are quite a few factors that affects lingering smell, especially on your fingers.

Brand : Marlboro is the worse. I currently smoked LD Ligatt Ducat. When I smoke LD menthol, I do smell, but not as bad as Marlboro menthol. When I smoke LD regular, no one even notice that I have been smoking as the smell on me (and on my fingers) dissipates after 10 mins.

Flavor : Menthol cigs makes smell linger. I suspect that the mint oil evaporates and can stain onto skin and fabric. Oils can trap smoky smells. Just like how backyard BBQ smoke lingers on you, as the oils from the meat evaporates and stuck onto you.

Wind : Make sure that the direction of the wind blows the smoke AWAY from your body, face and fingers at ALL times, even when holding the cig in between inhalation. Yeah, that means smoking outdoors, and upwind from other smokers.

Duration : Do not smoke until the every end. I suspect that when the cig hits the ends, you cannot prevent the smoke from surrounds your fingers. Anyone ever notice that when you had to give up the stick halfway (due to urgent calls or whatever), your fingers don’t smell? Or when you use one of those old fashion cig stick attachments? And maybe the heat causes volatile oils from the melted filter being stuck onto you.

Equipment : Use finger gloves, or attachments, or even a clothe peg. That might help your fingers from smelling, but not for the rest of your body, mouth and clothes.

Cleansing. Rinse and gargle mouth with water. Wash fingers with soap. Brush your teeth.

There has never been such an era in the US. That’s a story smokers/tobacco pushers tell to justify themselves

Smoking peaked at a little over 40% in the 1950’s, and has been declining since then. Now, only about a bit more than 1 out of 7 people (17%) smoke.

I agree with Lorres that duration makes a big difference. While I smoke, someone I work with absolutely stinks of cigarettes hours after she’s had one. She smokes them down to the filtre and yellow nicotine coats her fingers. If it’s bad enough that I can smell it, I can’t imagine what it smells like to a non-smoker.