Travel etiquette and vaping

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North America » United States
October 2nd 2018
Published: October 2nd 2018
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It wasn't that long ago when, after a fine meal at a five-star restaurant, enjoy brandy and cigars at your table, or at least, in a separate smoking area. Flight attendants, once your plane was in the air, would announce "The captain has turned on the no smoking sign," giving us a cue to extinguish our Marlboros. And of course, one of the great joys of international travel for Americans is the ability to purchase and enjoy a Cuban cigar, something that is still, tragically, unavailable in the United States.

The intrepid traveler has become accustomed to no-smoking rules in hotels, bars, restaurants, and virtually everywhere else, and has accepted these new rules of smoking etiquette. But the rules on vaping are somewhat cloudier. Where you can't smoke cigarettes, you may still be able to vape. But just because it's a possibility, a well-mannered traveler will still follow the new etiquette for vaping.

But no matter how light the vapor, you still won't be able to vape on the plane at all. If you're bringing your equipment with you, the FAA advises that you're not allowed to pack it in your checked baggage, but you can put it in your carry-on baggage or on your person. Depending on the airport though, you may be able to sneak a vape in the airport itself, but you'll need to check each airport's rules. While many do not allow it at all, there are still plenty which have designated areas and lounges where you can vape to your heart's content without fear of reprisal. If you're going to Las Vegas for example, although you can't vape in most of the open areas at McCarran Airport, it is allowed in a few places like the enclosed gaming areas, and at Barneys Lounge.

Todd Skezas, CEO and co-founder of San Diego-based Vapor Authority , is an authority on vape etiquette. "You will find more places to vape on your vacations than you might think, but the biggest rule on etiquette is simply to not be annoying," said Skezas. "Never assume it's okay, always ask first. And then, even if house policy is to allow vaping, if you're in close quarters, it's still a good idea to ask those next to you as well."

Skezas says that when taking public transportation, the best approach there is to assume vaping is not allowed – usually a pretty safe bet. However, like the airports, many bus stations and train stations do have designated smoking areas. "In taxicabs and Ubers, there is usually not set rule," said Skezas. "The best approach there is simply to ask the driver, as each driver is likely to have their own preferences. One Uber driver may not allow it at all, while the next one may be completely fine with it."

If you've spent time in Europe or Asia, you will no doubt have noticed that cigarettes are much more prevalent and peoples' attitudes tend to be a bit more relaxed. The same goes for vaping, but that doesn't mean anything goes – and there are some countries where you will definitely need to avoid it altogether. Planning a backpacking summer in Thailand? That's great, enjoy the sites, visit Khao San Road, and hang out on the beaches. But according to the Tourist Authority of Thailand , e-cigarettes are illegal in the Kingdom, and you could be fined, or even face jail time for having them. According to Skezas, "Thailand is a wonderful destination and known for its easy-going vibe, but don't mistake that for anything-goes," said Skezas. "The rules are strict, so you'll need to leave your vape kit at home if you're going to Thailand. The same holds true for Singapore, the UAE, and Indonesia. In most of the EU, with the exception of Belgium where it is banned, rules on vaping are much more open."

With those notable exceptions, chances are you will have plenty of opportunities to vape while on vacation, and to stay within the rules of common etiquette and not be considered a pretentious bore, just ask when in doubt, even in places where it's allowed. Yes, research shows that there is no risk of passive vaping, but you don't want to be that guy who argues with everyone about it, so just be considerate, and enjoy your vapor!


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