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Clinical Trial Summary

Up to one in five people have suffered loss or impairment of their sense of smell, limiting their available information about the environment, including possible hazards (e.g. gas or smoke). An impaired sense of smell is strongly associated with smoking, but its prevalence in smokers has yet to be established. Since only a few prospective cohort studies among smokers have compared change in olfactory function in smokers, it is not known how much or how fast smoking may impair olfactory function. Some studies describe improvement in olfactory function among quitters, supporting anecdotal evidence from ex-smokers who say they regained their sense of smell over time. As far as the investigators know, no randomized controlled trial has tested the effects of a smoking cessation intervention on olfactory function. A reliable and validated olfactory function test is the Burghart Sniffin' Sticks 16-item Identification-test, which is quick and easy to administer. 16 familiar odours will be presented to the participants, each for 3-4 seconds. After each odour the participant is asked to select the correct answer from 4 possible answers. With increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, their effect on the olfactory function also needs to be assessed. It is known, that e-cigarettes produce toxic compounds such as carbonyl and aldehydes, what could impair the sense of smell - especially if the liquid-level is too low or the temperature on the coil is too hot. This is the source of a phenomenon called "dry-hit", which is said to leave a burnt taste or smell to be recognized by users. However, it is unclear if e-cigarettes users with an olfactory dysfunction can adequately recognize a "dry-hit". Therefore, the goal is to investigate the effects of smoking cessation and use of ENDS on olfactory function and the recognition of a "dry-hit" from a test e-cigarette. For this trial, cigarette smokers motivated to quit smoking cigarettes will be included. Participants in the intervention group will receive an ENDS and nicotine-containing e-liquids, which they will be allowed to use ad libitum. Additionally, they will receive smoking cessation counseling. Participants in the control group will receive smoking cessation counseling only. All participants will be followed over a 24-month period. The primary objective is to assess changes in olfactory function from baseline to 6 months post target quit date (TQD) in cigarette smokers randomized to the intervention group compared to the control group.

Clinical Trial Description


Study Design

Related Conditions & MeSH terms

NCT number NCT04617444
Study type Interventional
Source University of Bern
Contact Reto Auer,
Phone +41 31 631 58 79
Email [email protected]
Status Recruiting
Phase N/A
Start date September 7, 2020
Completion date June 2023

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