freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Can smells make you dance for longer? | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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It depends where you stand on smoking, but you could argue there has been a downside to the ban on smoking in public places. No I’m not talking about smokers’ rights to pollute the air they – and everyone else around them – live in, but the effect it’s had on night clubs. I’m talking specifically about the fact that now nobody’s allowed to light up on the dancefloor, all those other smells that were masked by the stench of tobacco have come to the surface. And they’re not very pleasant. For instance, the smell of stale beer is so much more apparent now, as are body function smells emitted by humans (body odour and, er, gasses, shall we say). Some say it’s so bad, they would prefer it if the powers that be would allow smoking again.

Well I’m not so sure that’s a good idea, especially if you don’t smoke and work in a club, for instance (and you don’t want to suffer from a disease triggered by passive smoking). So why have I brought this subject up? Because some bright spark – Dr Hendrik Schifferstein, no less, from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands – has carried out a study to investigate how best to rid night spots of their post-smoking ban foul odours. Dr Schifferstein’s answer to the problem is to introduce ambient scents that hide the nasty  niffs – three were tested in Dutch nightclubs, namely orange, peppermint and seawater.

Dr Schifferstein and his team of trusty researchers polled clubbers after sweating the night away in the presence of one or more of these nicer smells. And guess what? They decided that introducing the ambient smells made people dance more (and before you ask, there were no significant differences between the three different smells). In his report, published in the journal Chemosensory Perception, Dr Schifferstein says: “Given that visitors gave a better evaluation for the clubs, felt more cheerful, and showed more dancing activity when scents were diffused, environmental fragrancing may be expected to have a positive effect on visitor return rate and future revenue for clubs.”

Hmm. So it’s got nothing to do with the pharmaceutical enhancements peddled by the bloke who gets in free with the DJ then, right?