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Chemists pinpoint compounds that give cigar breath its smell

By – Bad Breath Expert
Posted: January 31, 2011, Updated: February 25, 2014
SUMMARY: One of the more pungent varieties of smoking-related halitosis is cigar breath, which many people may be able to recognize immediately. Recently, a group of chemists identified the chemicals that give this species of bad breath its particular funk.

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One of the more pungent varieties of smoking-related halitosis is cigar breath, which many people may be able to recognize immediately. Recently, a group of chemists identified the chemicals that give this species of bad breath its particular funk.

Tobacco can stain your teeth and cause bad breath, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns. Like pipe smoking, puffing on a cigar involves holding hot smoke in the mouth for extended periods of time, leaving a strong stench on the tongue and teeth.

To determine which compounds comprise that odor, researchers with the William Wrigley, Jr. Company did what you might expect - they smoked cigars in the name of science.

Afterwards, they took tongue scrapings and passed them through a gas chromatography device, which separated samples into their basic compounds. Then researchers sniffed each one in turn.

They found that cigar breath seems to come from the combination of three smelly molecules. In the lab, 2-ethylpyrrole smelled "musty," 2,3-dimethylpyrazine had a meaty or savory smell, and 2-ethylpyridine had a "nutty stench" to it.

The chemists added that the presence of these molecules is logical, since scientists have known that each can be created through the drying or combustion of tobacco. Eliminating these compounds may be as simple as rinsing the mouth with a specialty breath freshener.

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