When people travel, they don’t just look forward to exploring new sights and meeting new people. They also expect to make it through their trips safely and healthily.
However, one aspect of traveling that’s a point of concern for tourists is exposure to secondhand smoke, and many tourist destinations are responding to this need by providing smoke-free experiences and zones.
Given the concern over public health for locals and travelers, countries like Mexico have smoking bans in all public places. While anti-smoking laws originally focused on cigarettes and tobacco products, vapes and electronic cigarettes are also starting to be included on restriction lists.
This means that smokers have the responsibility to quit — even if it’s only temporarily as they travel — not only for their own sake but for the sake of fellow tourists and locals. As such, here are tips to help you stay smoke-free while traveling.
Why choose to be smoke-free
Smoke-free policies are in place due to the public health and safety risks associated with smoking. For one, smoking affects not only smokers but also non-smokers involuntarily exposed to the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke.
In 2022, research on passive smoking published on ScienceDirect found that its adverse health effects are nearly as severe as active smoking.
When healthy travelers went to a destination city (Beijing) with a high smoking prevalence, their biomarkers indicated increased oxidative stress, which is highly implicated in cardiovascular diseases like heart failure.
Cigarette and other smoking-related fires can also cause property damage, injury, and even loss of life. Complying with smoking regulations, even ones mandated within public transport, hotels, and business, can help eliminate this potential fire hazard.
Finally, a side benefit to being a smoke-free traveler is cost savings. Our previous article on ‘20 Tips to Save Money for Your Trip’ has highlighted that you can increase your monthly savings by quitting smoking or simply reducing your cigarette intake.
By also choosing not to spend money on cigarettes while you’re on your trip, you can save more money for future travels.
How to stay smoke-free while traveling
Request a non-smoking room
Your physical environment can greatly influence how often or how intense your smoking urges are. Thus, a straightforward way to deal with the urge to smoke is to request a non-smoking room when making arrangements for your accommodation.
This can even extend to the reservations you make when going to a restaurant. Doing this in advance to ensure that smoke-free rooms/facilities are still available for your use, as these can be limited.
Research smoke-free policies
While spontaneity can be fun, you still want to properly plan and prepare for your trip. If you read through our list of ‘24 Common Travel Mistakes’, you’ll learn that not doing research prior to your trip is something you want to avoid.
Research doesn’t just help you identify sights to see and things to do. It also provides you with specific information on your destination, including public health and smoke-free policies.
For example, if you want to explore Greece’s idyllic islands, the smoking policies enacted only in main tourist areas and indoors may not be sufficient if you want to adopt a 100% smoke-free lifestyle during your trip.
However, further research will tell you that Astypalea is, fortunately, one of the world’s 100% smoke-free islands. Even old smoking rooms in Astypalea’s hotels have been converted into spaces that encourage the use of harm-reduction products in place of tobacco.
Look into smoke-free alternatives
On the topic of harm reduction, smokers can look into using smoke-free alternatives while they’re on the move.
Among these are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, which supply fixed levels of nicotine into the body to curb intense smoking urges and cravings without being addictive or posing further harm to one’s health.
These NRTs include gums, patches, and pouches, and they are easily available both online and over the counter.
Available online, the ZYN nicotine pouches at Prilla are tobacco-free and can be conveniently used by travelers even in places with smoking restrictions since they do not emit any odor, smoke, or residue.
Aside from flavor offerings like mint and wintergreen, these pouches can be used discreetly in public as the nicotine is released by simply tucking the product between the upper lip and gums.
Pack the essentials
Aside from your smoke-free alternatives, you can also pack a few essentials that can help you focus on your healthy lifestyle as a traveler. If you’ve made a quit plan, bringing a diary or journal can remind you of your motivations for quitting, as well as help you keep track of your progress.
Sugar-free candies and snacks can also keep your mouth busy when you’re having particularly intense cravings.
If you’re using patches for a slow yet steady release of nicotine throughout the day but need a little more assistance, nicotine patch brand Nicorette has released playlists that are tailored to help smokers manage emotions and behaviors during the cessation process.
With these playlists, you can listen to music for relaxation rather than giving in to the urge to take smoke breaks.
Avoid bars and other drinking venues
For many people, drinking alcohol is a smoking trigger since both activities are usually done at the same time. Therefore, you should take it upon yourself to avoid bars and other venues where drinking alcohol is commonplace.
Make sure to stick to this plan and avoid alcohol completely, as even one or two drinks can weaken your resolve and keep you off track.
Smoke-free traveling is integral not only to your personal lifestyle but also to the health and safety of fellow travelers and locals. Complying with smoking regulations is a way to show respect for the laws and culture of your travel destination, too.
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