Have you ever smelt gasoline? Do you ever liked its chemical smell? Of course, for people who like the smell of gasoline, they find it normal. Hence, there would be others who find it odd. So what’s the deal?
My friend and I decided to go on a road trip the other day. On the way, we stopped at a gas station to refill. As the gas entered the automobile, so did the familiar gas scent. I saw my companion was taking long breaths and turned to me, saying, “I really love the scent of gasoline!” I was immediately reminded of a television show that depicted various and bizarre addictions of people.
Here are several reasons why individuals enjoy the smell of gasoline despite knowing it is unhealthy.
Why Do People Enjoy the Smell of Gasoline?
People might have a wide range of habits and preferences. Hence, some people have peculiar tastes that others find unusual. There are people who even love the smell of gasoline. Are you one of those people?
To clarify, I did some research and found the following explanations for people’s curiosity.
1. Gasoline Component: Might Be the Cause Why Some People Would Love to Smell Gasoline
To comprehend why people enjoy the scent of gasoline, we must first understand its basic components. According to a study on gasoline’s chemical composition, it contains:
- Rust Inhibitors
- BTEX (benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene)
To increase acetate content, benzene is added to gasoline. Hence, boosting the engine’s efficiency. Benzene was utilized in post-shave lotions and even decaffeinated coffee in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, benzene was swiftly proven to have carcinogenic and harmful consequences when ingested into the human body. Therefore, its use as a daily companion to the human body was discontinued.
2. Olfactory Genetics
Humans have 600 non-functional genes that look like the 400 functional ones. Your olfactory receptors (OR) differ from those of another person in three ways (or 30 percent). So we all have our own “unique nose” and olfactory fingerprint!
Our noses have OR proteins that connect to odorant molecules. They can bind to several ORs and detect distinct compounds (or groups of chemicals). Thus, the odor we experience is a mixture of odorant molecules, each receptor binding to a fraction of them. For example, food aroma reaches your nose as a molecular combination.
The ORs on the nose’s lining identify numerous chemical types. Then the brain links the messages with a scent. This natural cascade leads to our sense of smell.
We can smell things others can’t since we all have distinct ORs. Glassiness, male perspiration, and odors have all been genetically examined, with most research linking sensory differences to the OR genes. But why does gasoline bother me? There are no substantial studies linking profuse ORs to the perception of chemicals in gasoline. Thus, other mechanisms may be at play (or whiteboard markers). Other dopamine receptor genes may affect your reaction!
3. Neurotransmitter and Olfactory – It Causes People to Like the Smell of Gasoline
In the brain, dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a signaling molecule. It sends reward signals in particular. Consider how you feel after eating chocolate or beating a difficult game. For example, if certain molecules in gasoline or chocolate activate the reward center, our sense of smell may be heightened. It may also be muted depending on how pleasurable we perceive it.
Reduced responsiveness of one dopamine receptor (proteins reacting to dopamine signal in brain). Likewise, reduced capacity to sense an odor/ as if walking away from it. A ‘rewarding’ smell is more likely to be detected. This idea has intriguing implications for olfactory perception and other reward system manifestations such as mood disorders and addiction.
4. The Mesolimbic Pathway is Activated by Gasoline.
That benzene has physical effects on odor-determining nerve receptors. Therefore, as benzene and other hydrocarbons depress the nervous system, they produce a transient ‘euphoric’ experience. So you feel good.
This biological process numbs your nerves and activates the brain’s reward pathway, which is the mesolimbic pathway. It creates dopamine when it detects benzene. Your brain says you like it and want it more.
These are, of course, theories on why people like the smell of gasoline. There isn’t much scientific research on this.
5. Intoxication Causes- Petrol Smell Addiction
One of the reasons people appreciate the smell of gasoline is intoxication. And that’s even if they are unaware of it. It has an intoxicating impact on the human body, similar to that of alcohol. Benzene, like alcohol, can be addicting to persons who are repeatedly and purposefully exposed to its odor. Therefore, it can result in the phenomena known as petrol smell addiction.
Intentional and repetitive inhalation of gasoline converts it into anesthetic, and so gasoline affects and suppresses nerve functioning. This procedure can cause serious cognitive, mental, and physical issues due to its deep brain penetration structure.
6. Aplastic Anemia
A recent American Society of Hematology study linked anemia with gasoline odor preferences. They say in their research that they worked with four people with IDA (iron deficiency anemia). These people who all developed desires for certain odors, including gasoline.
Strange desires stopped once the IDA was treated medically, but resurfaced in a patient whose IDA relapsed. This was like pica, a need for non-nutritive meals associated with IDA. They discovered that some people, notably anemics, require specific scents, such as gasoline.
They conducted studies to show that anemic patients no longer needed gasoline. Although, they also claim that some of those patients got anemia again. As a result, the urge for gasoline returned.
7. Gasoline Rekindles Old Memories
When our nose detects a familiar scent, it can elicit strong, vivid memories. Pine needles may remind you of summer camp. But the aroma of roasted turkey sends you back to Grandma’s for the holidays. This deep link between scent and memory is commonly referred to as the Proust phenomenon. After French author Marcel Proust, who recounted a powerful childhood memory evoked by the smell of a madeleine biscuit dipped in tea.
But the connection is more than just literary. The only sense that does not transit via the thalamus before reaching the forebrain is smell. The thalamus acts as a sort of operator switchboard. It links sensory inputs from our eyes, hearing, tongue, and touch. And then, to the appropriate areas of the brain for registration and interpretation.
Scent, on the other hand, completely bypasses this switchboard in favor of a direct path. A thick network of connections surrounds the amygdala and hippocampus, which detect fragrance molecules. They are involved in emotional reaction and memory formation, respectively.
That is why, on a subconscious level, odors cause our brains to generate strong, emotionally salient memories.
Gasoline Sniffing is Inhalant Abuse
According to national polls, inhaling hazardous goods is becoming one of the country’s most prevalent problems. Because gasoline is readily available, there has been an increase in teen and young adult abuse.
The Effects to People of Sniffing Gasoline
Petrol hydrocarbons depress the central nervous system, resulting in a state akin to alcohol intoxication. Lead heightens the impact of drunkenness. Even unleaded gasoline may contain trace amounts of lead. This can boost the substance’s capacity to create hallucinations.
It doesn’t take long to become inebriated by sniffing gasoline; usually no more than five minutes, and many will feel the effects after just one minute. Petrol fumes reach the lungs, then the bloodstream, and finally the brain.
The following are typical side effects that users of this inhalant will experience:
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Slowed reflexes
- Increased libido
- A sensation of lightness
- Disassociation with the environment
- Impaired decision-making
- Muscle weakness
Symptoms of Gasoline Sniffing
Individuals who sniff gasoline may have a variety of symptoms, including:
- Their clothes and breath smells gasoline odor
- They have body tremors
- Poor coordination and clumsiness
- Sudden mood swings
- Falling into depression
- Personality changes
- Loss of memory and blackouts
- Loss of appetite
- Lying criminally
- Having a secretive behavior
- A rash forming around their nose or mouth
- An inability to sleep
- Constant exhaustion
- Periods when they are excessively chatty
- Inability to maintain a career
- Failing to meet family and social obligations
Dangers of Sniffing Gasoline
Sniffing gasoline may have long-term harmful effects on the body. Even inhaling this inhalant for a short time can be dangerous. Gasoline contains a slew of compounds that are incredibly hazardous to the body. Toxins build up in the body over time, causing damage to various organs, including the brain.
Some of the most common dangers are as follows:
- Respiratory issues
- Brain injury that is permanent
- Immune system dysfunction
- Blood irregularities
- Heart disease
- Damage to the liver and kidneys
- Headaches that last a long time
- Chronic exhaustion
- The nose bleeds
- Heartbeat irregularity
- Babies born to women who abused this inhalant have a low birth weight.
- Blood pressure levels that are both high and low
- Infections of the lungs
- Hemorrhage in the brain
- Family problems
- Financial difficulties
Treatment for Sniffing Gasoline Addiction
Petrol smelling can impair mental and physical performance. The only cure is complete abstinence. As soon as the abuser stops, he or she must focus on constructing a new life.
Finding new coping methods and improved ways to deal with stress is frequently part of this process. Quitting inhalants without making other changes may lead to more negative habits. Therefore, going to rehab increases an inhalant abuser’s chances of recovery.
Many people experience a hypnotic effect from gasoline. It can be a naive and happy return to the glorious moments of the past. On the other hand, it can also be a problem that addicting them and finally destroys their body and mind.
In this article, I presented some possible reasons why people like the smell of gasoline. This should help alert readers of the harmful effects of abusing the odor.
Anything that is consumed within normal limits is wonderful. Everything that is consumed outside those limits is harmful to human health. Don’t let fuel, like alcohol, become your adversary. Allow gasoline to transport you back in time and make you feel good on occasion. Remember, never allow yourself to become a slave to that aroma and become addicted to something that could ruin you.