The Sense of Taste: How Changes in Taste Buds Affect E-Cig Flavors

The Sense of Taste: How Changes in Taste Buds Affect E-Cig Flavors

October 21, 2015

Taste: It is one of the five senses used by an individual on a daily basis. It is a sense that is rarely completely lost forever; however, it is always changing. Taste buds are the devices that help one determine what is sweet, sour, bitter, salty, or savory. Together, our taste buds and our sense of smell work together to create what we know as flavor, and there are many factors that may affect our perception of flavors—especially when it comes to enjoying our favorite e-cig flavors.

The Psychology of Taste

The Psychology of Taste

Your sense of taste can be affected by many different factors, with one of the most important factors being its connection with the sense of smell. A part of taste comes from your ability to smell: When you smell a food, it affects the way it tastes, and even once you have placed some delectable food into your mouth, your sense of smell is adjusting to the way the food tastes. Since these two senses are so closely connected, sickness can strongly affect the way different flavors taste. For instance, if your nose is clogged and stuffed up, your sense of smell will not be working properly, and thus your food will taste differently.

Let’s talk about sickness some more, as this can really knock your taste buds out of whack. When you get sick, your body goes through a bit of adverse psychology resulting in mostly temporary food aversions. Anything you eat, drink, or inhale during or just before your time of sickness can be affected. For instance, if you eat an orange every day while combating an illness, you may find that you begin to dislike oranges once your body starts feeling better. This is because your brain is associating the fruit with your sickness. Furthermore, it can take weeks for your sense of taste to begin favoring the taste of oranges again. So, if you constantly vape on that vanilla flavored disposable e-cig you love so much while you are sick, chances are you might need to switch to another flavor for a period of time once you are feeling better.

Other illnesses, such as food and alcohol poisoning, can also affect your taste buds and can even turn the flavors you love into the flavors you hate. For instance, say you enjoy a delicious Cuban sandwich from the local sub shop down the street. Perhaps a part of that sub had been contaminated, or maybe one of the meats was left out too long: your body’s immediate reaction will be to evacuate your stomach to rid itself of any potential dangers. As a result, both your mind and body will associate the smell and taste of a Cuban sub with a dangerous illness as your brains naturally sends signals throughout your body to avoid that particular food.

The Psychology of Taste

The same goes for alcohol. Let’s say you went out on the town and had one too many margaritas, then spent the rest of the night hugging the porcelain throne, promising to never do it again. The next time you go out for a drink and decide to order your favorite margarita, you may just find yourself gagging from the very smell of the tequila before even getting a sip down. This is because your body is associating the smell of tequila with that horrible night you spent on the bathroom floor and, as a result, is trying to prevent you from doing it again. Although you may still feel a love for that Cuban sub or margarita, if either—or any other food or beverage for that matter–made you violently ill at any point in time, your brain and body may feel differently the next time you decide to give it another try.

Not All Flavors Can Be Friends

Aside from illnesses, there are other factors that may contribute to a change in your taste buds, such as pairing different flavors. For example, a cup of coffee or orange juice right after brushing your teeth may not taste that great, while pairing flavors that compliment each other could make one flavor taste even better. This is probably why my Regular Tobacco e-liquid tastes better than ever while enjoying a whiskey neat at the bar. Using certain medications or drugs can also alter your perception of flavors. For instance, if you use a medication that makes you feel sick or causes you to purge these toxins from your body, you may just remember other flavors that circulated through your taste buds while using that medication, thus causing you to detest those flavors for some time.

Everything Changes Over Time—Even Your Taste Buds

Everything Changes Over Time—Even Your Taste Buds

Aging and taste bud changes also go hand in hand. While there is no scientific proof that your tastes change at a specific time–particularly every 7 years which may have began as a wife’s tale to encourage their kids that they will like vegetables later in life–there are some detailed studies in how flavors may change with age. So why do young children only seem to prefer sweeter things, while adults can enjoy more bitter and subdued flavors? Well for one thing, the taste buds are still developing throughout childhood, as well as the mind. It has been noted that young kids naturally do not like bitter foods as the taste of bitterness is imbedded into the brain as being dangerous, since many poisonous plants and drugs may also hold this taste. As a person ages, they become more accustomed to this flavor as an acceptable and viable option for his or her palate. It has also been noted that this sensitivity to bitterness can pop up again later in life, such as during a woman’s pregnancy as the resistance to eating bitter foods can help protect the life she is carrying inside of her.

Unfortunately, as we age, our taste buds will slowly stop regenerating and our sense of smell with be dulled down. Our acuteness to picking up certain tones of flavor will become drab and can alter the flavors that we used to love. However, the greatest thing about our taste buds changing as we age is we can psychologically overcome certain aversions to foods we experienced during childhood. We become more adventurous and open to trying different foods, so you may one day discover that those peas you absolutely refused to eat as a child may become the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted as an adult. Another plus to aging taste buds is we may also associate memories with the aromas and tastes of different flavors. Maybe it’s trying White Cloud’s Cavendish pipe tobacco e-cig flavor for the first time, as you remember your grandfather smoking the flavor out of his pipe, or you are trying our ever-popular Cinnamon Fling Disposable e-cig because it reminds you of the Christmas season of yonder years. Taste based on experience can greatly impact your experience with e-liquid flavors, and this could be a common reason why we see tobacco smokers move away from tobacco flavors to try sweeter and more diverse options as they begin to shy away from the memories of using tobacco cigarettes.

If It Doesn’t Taste Right, Take a Break and Try Something New

If It Doesn’t Taste Right, Take a Break and Try Something New

As you can see, many factors can lead to either becoming fonder of a flavor or disliking those you used to love. While the flavor may have stayed the same, your taste buds are influenced by several different factors and are consistently undergoing changes as time goes on; therefore, looking for a temporary or permanent alteration to your palate can be quite the pleasure! Just remember this helpful tip… if the flavor doesn’t taste right, try something new and come back to it later.