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How to Navigate International Smokefree Policies

What to do about smoking bans when traveling.

Tourist road trip

Globally, smoking is a big part of many cultures, from the hookahs in Turkey to the cigars in Cuba. However, smoking, especially when using tobacco, is widely regarded as a dangerous habit. In fact, smoking tobacco cigarettes is considered a top cause of premature death and chronic illness. 

As a result, more countries are steadily adopting smokefree policies. By the end of 2023, BMJ reported that 150 countries have already begun efforts to curb smoking rates. Furthermore, a WeForum article reveals that this includes popular tourist destinations like Portugal, France, Mexico, and the UK. This is all in the hopes of becoming totally smokefree within the next few decades. While largely beneficial, these policies do pose some issues for smokers who have a cigarette dependence. For traveling smokers, in particular, these regulations may result in withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and brain fog, which can seriously dampen a trip. As such, it’s important to know how to work around these smokefree rules without compromising the local law or your travels. Here are a few ways to do this:

Try vaping where allowed

For many smokers, what they look for the most apart from the nicotine is the familiar action of taking a drag and exhaling smoke. In fact, many smokers have developed an oral fixation around this that they associate with calmer breathing patterns and a more relaxed mind. This is why vapes, or e-cigarettes, are a popular option among those trying to get away from tobacco cigarettes. As heated devices that emit vapor, they offer a soothing familiarity. As exemplified by the popular brand CCell Vapes, these devices also come in various mod sizes so that you can find a more compact vape for your travels. Using flavored e-juices, vapes can offer fun flavors like bubblegum or berry with nicotine levels ranging from 0 to 20mg. The only downside to vapes is that they’re becoming increasingly regulated, too. For instance, vaping in Singapore is illegal and can lead to hefty fines. 

Switch to smokeless nicotine alternatives

A popular means to slowly wean a person off cigarettes, smokeless nicotine products come in a variety of formats with various strengths and flavors to enhance the experience. One option that travelers may enjoy, given its portability and subtly, is nicotine pouches. As seen in the products sold on Prilla, pouches are small tobacco-free oral alternatives with strengths ranging from 2mg to 30mg, with flavors like coffee, citrus, and mint. Trustworthy brands like ZYN and Rogue can even quell cigarette cravings for up to an hour with a single pouch without drawing undue attention. This makes it perfect for travelers who may be going to more conservative locations like China. For travelers who’ll be trying more adrenaline-pumping activities, such as spelunking in Hawaii, transdermal options may help. According to the resource site Drugs, these patches can be used for several hours so long as the skin remains clean. Brands like Nicoderm offer a slow release for long-term satisfaction. 

Use smoking cessation apps

Finally, in the event that smoking or using an alternative is just too complicated, travelers can also look to cessation aids—even if just for the duration of the trip. After all, countries like Russia are tightening their policies on all smoking and nicotine-related items. In these cases, an NCBI journal entry notes that smartphone apps that come with research-backed evidence of efficacy can help smokers let go of the habit. Some of the most reliable quit-smoking apps today include Get Rich or Die Smoking. This app includes real-time chat support while also helping track how much a smoker is saving by avoiding cigarettes. Given that most travelers need to mind their budget, this is a helpful monitoring platform that keeps finances and cigarette cravings in check. 

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