Andrew G Hobbs / Getty Images file
Without cigarette smoke in bars and restaurants, we can smell stale beer, bad cologne and body odor, the likes of which these revelers are surely emitting.
By Jennifer Worick
Smoking bans are increasingly found in bars and nightclubs around the world. But as the smell of cigarette smoke slowly fades from your favorite hotspot, new, not-always-pleasing odors rear their stinky head. Body odor, cologne that should have been left in the 80s, stale beer -- what’s a barfly or club kid to do?
This is the question researchers in the Netherlands decided needed a scientific answer. They dispensed three different scents — orange, peppermint, and seawater — in three dance clubs. About 850 20-somethings weighed in about their evening in da scented club.
“We started the study because unwanted smells came up as a problem for many bars and nightclubs after the smoking ban,” said Dr. Hendrik Schifferstein from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, one of the researchers conducting the study. “Entrepreneurs were looking for a solution to this problem.”
The study included pre- and post-measurements of no-scent control conditions. Respondents filled out a short questionnaire, asking them to rate the quality of the evening, the music, and the club, as well as their feelings. The results showed that the addition of scent enhanced dancing activity and improved their evaluation of the evening, music, and mood. (The type of scent didn’t make any significant difference in pairs of feet on the dance floor.)
The findings were published online this month in the journal Chemosensory Perception.
Any scent other than cigarette smoke certainly lifts Darin Sanone’s spirits when he hits the club. A bartender for nine years at Rage, a gay nightclub in West Hollywood, is all for a little aromatherapy/air freshener. “One of the DJs last week burned incense,” said Sanone, “and it traveled all the way through the bar and even masked a horrible smell coming from a corner of the club.”
Is fragrance the new wave of the future? Dr. Schifferstein thinks so. “I have heard that fragrance machines are very popular ever since the smoking ban. So I do expect more and more clubs to use them. In addition, I know that there are club owners who hire specialized aroma DJs to produce fragrances that match the music played,” he said.
Until that time when sandalwood or China rain is being pumped into your favorite watering hole, savor the cigarette-free scent and flavor of a good cocktail. “The only big change I have noticed is people drinking more refined drinks, perhaps because the subtle flavors are not masked by heavy cigarette smoke,” said Miles Thomas, a former Seattle bartender and owner of Scrappy’s Bitters. And that’s nothing to sniff at.
Jennifer Worick is a freelance writer and author in Seattle. Find her at jenniferworick.com.
Want more weird health news? Find The Body Odd on Facebook.