Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evaluation of young smokers and non-smokers with Electrogustometry and Contact Endoscopy

Pavlidis Pavlos1*, Nikolaidis Vasilios1, Anogeianaki Antonia2, Koutsonikolas Dimitrios2, Kekes Georgios1 and Anogianakis Georgios2

Author Affiliations

1 2nd ENT Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

2 Laboratory of Experimental Physiology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

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BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6815-9-9

Published: 20 August 2009



Smoking is the cause of inducing changes in taste functionality under conditions of chronic exposure. The objective of this study was to evaluate taste sensitivity in young smokers and non-smokers and identify any differences in the shape, density and vascularisation of the fungiform papillae (fPap) of their tongue.


Sixty-two male subjects who served in the Greek military forces were randomly chosen for this study. Thirty-four were non-smokers and 28 smokers. Smokers were chosen on the basis of their habit to hold the cigarette at the centre of their lips. Taste thresholds were measured with Electrogustometry (EGM). The morphology and density of the fungiform papillae (fPap) at the tip of the tongue were examined with Contact Endoscopy (CE).


There was found statistically important difference (p < 0.05) between the taste thresholds of the two groups although not all smokers presented with elevated taste thresholds: Six of them (21%) had taste thresholds similar to those of non-smokers. Differences concerning the shape and the vessels of the fungiform papillae between the groups were also detected. Fewer and flatter fPap were found in 22 smokers (79%).


The majority of smokers shown elevated taste thresholds in comparison to non-smokers. Smoking is an important factor which can lead to decreased taste sensitivity. The combination of methods, such as EGM and CE, can provide useful information about the vascularisation of taste buds and their functional ability.