After years of waiting, backpackers can finally explore international destinations once again. Palakorn Viriya, the owner of Deejai Backpackers hotel in Chiang Mai, tells the Guardian that the number of foreign tourists is slowly increasing in one of the top destinations of backpackers. Thai locals are optimistic that the tourism industry will improve in the next few years, as more backpackers plan to hike through must-visit international sites like Thailand, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Bolivia.
While spontaneity is a big part of backpacking adventures, it’s crucial for you to figure out the do’s and don’t’s of each country before booking that trip. To start, here’s what you need to know about smoking guidelines in popular backpacking destinations:
Be aware of your destinations’ smoking regulations
Countries have different regulations on cigarettes. You’ll have to look into these rules ahead of time because you may have to pay fines or even get deported if you bring or smoke cigarettes where it’s banned. Our article entitled ‘Being Aware of Country Borders While Backpacking’ warns that you can be heavily fined for bringing an undeclared pack of cigarettes to Singapore. You can even be viewed as a criminal for doing so, which is why it’s a must to declare these items before entering the country.
While Singapore’s rules may already seem like a lot, there are plenty of countries with stricter protocols regarding cigarette smoking. Costa Rica passed one of the strictest smoking regulations in the world, which is why everyone is prohibited from using cigarettes in taxis, buses, public buildings, casinos, and even bars. Meanwhile, you can be fined up to RM10,000 (around USD2275) if you are caught smoking in public toilets, airports, and other public spaces in Malaysia.
Consider the permitted alternatives in the country
If you really want to travel around destinations with strict smoking bans, you can still get your nicotine fix through alternatives. E-cigarettes are very popular in Europe as they are regulated in countries like Croatia, Hungary, and Greece so you can still enjoy e-cigarettes with a nicotine concentration of 20 mg/ml. However, keep in mind that the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes is banned in 37 countries, including popular destinations like Cambodia, Egypt, and Thailand. Popular brands include the Kangvape Onee Stick and the Bidi Stick.
Another alternative is the nicotine pouch, which comes in various strengths to suit different users. Backpackers can easily use Rogue nicotine pouches outdoors because the mini pouches are simply inserted between the upper lip and gum. Even better, these pouches also offer a similar nicotine kick without emitting any tobacco, smoke, or a bad odor, so no risk of creating a fire hazard while you’re hiking or traveling.
Pay attention to any fire signs and warnings
Even if a country has loose regulations on smoking, you’ll still need to look out for any warnings or fire signs, especially when you’re on a hiking trail. Several national parks across the world have smoking restrictions due to the high number of wildfires caused by cigarettes.
To illustrate, Australian national parks have designated smoking areas because smoking is banned in walking tracks, lookouts, beaches, and campgrounds. Likewise, smoking is only allowed in designated places in American national parks. However, the Big Bend National Park regulations points out that travelers need to pack out cigarette butts and place them in bear-proof storage boxes whenever you break camp. The authority behind the national park explains that animals are attracted to trash, which is why backpackers have to be careful in disposing of any waste.
Backpacking can be tricky because you’re traveling to places with different rules. To keep your trip fun and smooth-sailing, make sure that you’re extra careful about each country’s guidelines for cigarette smoking.