We returned from a Rick Steves tour recently. One of our fellow travellers smoked a vapor cigarette. He thought it smelled nice because it was a cinnamon/apple mix. However, we & other tour companions would disagree. The billowing smoke is distracting and unpleasant especially if we needed to stand close to hear a tour guide. I realize he must have been addicted to cigarettes because as soon as we got out of the bus, he would have it out...but, like cigarettes, i think these should be banned from tours. Thoughts from others? Is this an unreasonable request?
This happened on our Rome 2015 tour. Our daughter, who is sensitive/allergic to fragrances, asked the tour guide to talk to the e smoker, so later, the smoker was inhaling further away from the group. At that time my daughter posted a comment on these boards, regarding if RS tours could decide a policy on these e-cigs. Don't remember if any came out of it. I hope they do, and include it in the rules instead of having to ask the guide to confront the smoker(s) each time.
I know in the US they are proposing to regulate them like regular cigs, but what about Europe? Do countries or the EU consider them the same, or are they even that popular there?
Cigarettes are not banned from RS tours. Smoking them within the group is. So as long as the smoker goes away from the group to a distance where the smoke does not impact the tour members, they are free to smoke. Luckily, there have been very few smokers on the many RS tours I have taken so it really has not been a problem. But I agree that e-cigs are just as annoying as real cigs.
I used an ecig on my tour. I made sure to walk well back of the group when walking or moved away entirely when stopped. Several group members would walk over to where we were to talk, but I had moved away from the group as I thought polite. It's not an unreasonable request to expect people to move away when vaping or smoking and maybe the guides should address that up front during the introduction meeting. I do believe it is an unreasonable request to ban the products being used on tour. Using harm reduction products to reduce the use of combustible tobacco should be encouraged, not banned.
I agree with Nance.. it is reasonable to ban use when with the group.. but not to ban them.. lets not be control freaks. If the person walks away from group I have no idea why you want to control what they do.. I do not vape btw .. just don't like some folks attitudes.
PS Smokes are not banned either .. just use with group..
Live and let live.. if you can smell the smoke they are too close.. but really just seeing "billowing" smoke from a distance shouldn't distract a grown up.
Thanks for your comments. This was a really nice guy, however he did not move away from the group when smoking. I think the policy does need to be clear and emphatic, as he told me he thought the smoke was pleasant scented and shouldn't bother anyone. I think it is time for a clear policy on this issue as the last thing I, or anyone else wants to do when on tour, is to address an interpersonal issue. We are there to enjoy the trip and enjoy our colleagues. And for the record, we had a wonderful trip.
My concern is when someone is allergic to fragrances, be they be bad or good smelling. Recently my daughter found out she is allergic to chemicals emitted in perfumes, so am wondering what to do if she travels and a tour member splashes on the cologne/perfume so they permeate. Short of staying away, wouldn't it be impolite to ask to refrain from using aromatics? At this point I don't know if she can take any medication to prevent a breakout. Any opinions or suggestions?
California has just passed laws which will treat vaping the same as traditional tobacco use. That means you will not be able to use them in schools, restaurants, etc. They have also extended the legal age to 21, partly fueled by the large numbers of teenagers who are becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping. I realize there is a lot of controversy surrounding the secondhand effects of vaping, but it is probably better to be safe than sorry.
“If you are around somebody who is using e-cigarettes, you are breathing an aerosol of exhaled nicotine, ultra-fine particles, volatile organic compounds, and other toxins.” Dr. Stanton Glantz, Director for the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
Rick Steves' Tours DOES have a plan in place. No smoking or vaping in restaurants or within close range of the group. Any who want to indulge are expected to step away - a decent distance away. If someone is not doing that they need to be told nicely that they need to move away. If they continue then the guide needs to address it. I don't think of rude vapers or smokers any different than I think of other people who do rude things. Manners seem to have gone the wayside. Strong perfumes bother me too, especially those floral powdery ones and I would not hesitate to privately and nicely request that they refrain from using it if I were going to be forced into close quarters (like the bus!) with them.
Read on only if you are interested...
From my own pov as a former (40+ years) smoker and current vaper, it's not the smell of smoke but the smell of smoke permeated clothing that now drives me crazy lol. Tobacco addiction is very difficult to tackle for most people and many fail in their attempt to quit through the use of pharmaceutical products. I, along with millions of others was one of those people. I thought I would die from smoking because I was unable to stop. I still might die from the effects of long term smoking but I have a MUCH better chance now of living a longer, much healthier life. I became an advocate for harm reduction products after being successful in quitting tobacco. The electronic cigarette (unfortunate choice of name as it is nothing like a cigarette) has been a God-send for so many people who wanted to quit smoking because it is not just the nicotine that smokers crave - it is often the hand to mouth habit they find hard to give up. The only reason it is now classified as a tobacco product is that shipments from overseas were being seized and held as it was being considered a medical product. A fight ensued in court just to be able to keep it on the market and the only way to do that was to allow it to be classified as tobacco and now unfortunately the market could very well be destroyed. The ecig HAS been scientifically proven through multiple studies at leading universities to be 95%+ less harmful than combustible tobacco. Proven, - yet we have naysayers who refuse to believe the benefits and through ignorance and greed would like to kill the industry. Money greases palms and this wonderful product that could save millions of lives has an uncertain future. Okay - climbing down from my advocacy soap box.
Whether it's the product from so-called electronic cigarettes or from cigarettes, it's macht nichts to me. So if you must partake of those products do so a respectful distance from those of us not so inclined. As for the impact of secondhand e-cigarette vapor on us prissy types, the American Lung Association states, "Two initial studies have found formaldehyde, benzene and tobacco-specific nitrosamines (all carcinogens) coming from those secondhand emissions. Other studies have shown that chemicals exhaled by users also contain formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other potential toxins."
Take a look at this thread from earlier this year where a couple of posters were denying that vaping had any odor at all...
Here is what the RS Pre-tour handbooks states:
"No smoking is allowed on the bus, in
hotel rooms or during group meals. Smokers
may smoke only outdoors and downwind
from the group."
I've been on 7 tours. Sometimes I noticed smokers, sometimes not. I'm pretty sensitive to smoke and I really only noticed if people were lagging behind the group, not because I smelled smoke or vapor. They all seemed to take extra care not to bother tour mates. Once I noticed another tour member standing off by herself and I went over to talk, and only then realized she was smoking. We had a good laugh and I left her to smoke.
The no-smoking with the group policy has been confirmed to apply to vapor cigarettes, too, but updating of all documentation is not yet complete.
Wow. I wonder how smoke-haters survive in a lot of Europe where smokers are everywhere outside. It's accepted as their domain so if you want to avoid it, go inside. At least more recent restaurant laws have provided that option.
I remember sitting on a couple of cafe terraces in Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, England, Holland, etc. with Americans who were annoyed by the smoke and pointedly doing the cough-cough-dirty-look thing to the locals around them. They didn't make any friends that way. Different countries; different rules.
Even if someone is kindly smoking at a distance on an RS tour, the local, tourist or tour group next to you may not be.
The vaper person was outside ( since its not legal to smoke in most indoor venues in Europe either ) and it is still legal to smoke outside.. so.. the whole issue is this vaper person was too close to the group and the guide did not tell him to move away. So.. it seems the guide simply did not enforce the rule.. perhaps no one mentioned it bothered him ( you could do that privately so not have to be in conflict with other tour member) or the guide was unaware of the smell.
I think the simple solution if one was bothered.. they should have just had a quiet word with the guide.. who then would have had a quiet word with the vaper, and I am sure guide would have been discrete and not mentioned any specific name.. so everyone would feel better in end.
PS I had a son who vaped ( he quit) and I disliked the smell too.. it was like overwhelming butterscotch or sickly old lady perfume smell to me.. so I would not let him vape in my house or car. No biggie.
I think if you read the RS tour paperwork closely you'll also see a statement about perfume or fragrances. Am pretty sure I remember reading it. I never smoked but do like the smell of pipe tobacco but I would never assume that what smells pleasant to me smells pleasant to anyone else and vice versa. I have a colleague who feels the need to spray down the office ladies room and her desk area with something other than Glade every day & I'm sure her eau de whatever is lovely for her but to me it's a sickly perfume. So Mr. Apple Cinnamon may be assuming something he shouldn't. I've been on 5 RS tours and have never seen anyone smoking.
First, I am very sensitive to chemicals and second hand smoke. I have been in buses and bars where they have allowed electronic cigarettes, my eyes will turn red, nostrils and throat will feel raw. It is much the same reaction as regular cigarette smoke. I personally would like to see them banned.
Europeans are also smoking less. It has need banned in Irish pubs for years. As far as sitting in an outside cafe, I simply asked to be seated at an end. We will hurry up and leave if it becomes unbearable.
I hate being around cigarette smoke, but I've never had a tour member be anything but discreet with their smoking. On a couple occasions, I was rather surprised to run across one of them smoking (away from the group) because I was completely unaware that they were smokers. I agree with others who suggest speaking with the guide if there is a problem. That's their job,
There were smokers on our last RS tour. Thankfully all were very discreet. It is nice to know RS has a policy to address vaping as well.
I get very ill from breathing in secondhand smoke. If I am walking toward someone who happens to be smoking, I will hold my breath until I am far away! If I don't see someone smoking and smell it, I immediately move, hopefully in the right direction, to escape the smoke as fast as I can. Hubby just looks at me like I am crazy until he smells the smoke and then knows why I am on the other side of the street! I really don't like getting so ill. Thankfully, California has great smoking laws so not much of an issue for me here.
I have a tour to Europe soon and I dread having to deal with all the smoking, especially at outdoor cafes. I love to linger at outdoor cafes! I too try and sit at the side but often have to leave due to smoke finding its way to my nose.
The studies I've read about vaping were all negative studies. I don't know how my body would react as I don't think I have ever encountered someone vaping.
I do feel for those who are addicted to nicotine.
It's too bad this fellow was so arrogant and wouldn't move away. What a joke that he considered that the smell was pleasant!! A little bit of courtesy would have gone a long way, and it seems to me he was clearly in violation of the RS tour policy, so it's a shame the guide didn't address it, leaving you and your companions victim to his smoke. All he would have had to do was demonstrate the consideration for others that Nance clearly does, and it wouldn't have been an issue.
Unreasonable to ban behaviors unlike your own? : I sure hope so.
In addition to "Grumps" maybe the following should also be advertised as unwelcome: people with bad breath, people that emit body odor, people that f*rt, people that can't carry a tune, people that like country music, people that.....
I suggest that when another human being is behaving in a way that upsets you, try the following:
1. If at all possible, grin and bear it.
2. If that fails, in a polite and nonthreatening manner discuss the situation with the offender.
3. Keep in mind that you may be doing something that is upsetting to others as well.
This is what I learned in kindergarten.
I guess I've been lucky. Six RS tours and no smokers/vapers or folks with too much perfume. The rules are clear. If you don't want to adhere to them, don't take a tour. It's just a matter of courtesy to others. You're not living in a bubble.
The reason one reads so many articles maligning e-cigarettes is because it is newsworthy. To believe the hype is to discount a product that has shown a better success rate in helping smokers to stop than any other method. The following link shares articles from a trustworthy organization if you are interested in educating yourself with scientific data instead of media hysteria.
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies. Having traveled extensively in Europe, we are well aware of the scope of Europeans smoking cigarettes outside and on terraces. And no, we don't make faces or move away unless we can do so before a server ever approaches us - their practices and courtesies rule in their home countries. And Europeans often become as annoyed as we do at someone smoking next to them. An eye opener for us was some years ago observing a French couple firmly requesting a smoker sitting nearby (on a terrace) to put out his cigarette - or to please move.
However, this was an American originated tour group. In the US and Canada there are clearly defined rules on where one can smoke these days to avoid others absorbing the toxicity of cigarette smoke; vaping much less so, tho the public health research is beginning to show it is as toxic as cigarette smoke. It's a personal choice to smoke, however on a tour I would prefer to not to have to even think about it. As for the other odors commenters mentioned, perfume especially, you have my sympathy, especially with sensitivities. No one on a tour wants to deal with interpersonal issues. I think it is a simple matter of tour guides being very straight forward about scents - of all kinds from perfumes to vapors - on the very first evening meet and greet. Good and happy traveling all.
Using e-cigs instead of smoking tobacco may provide you with a "healthier" means of handling your habit and in general be less obnoxious to those around you, but you have not quit smoking only substituted a different route to get your nicotine. I do hope that those who choose this option do have a better and healthier life.
I grew up in a house where my parents smoked a carton a day - yes 10 packs or more every day. They always wondered why my brother and I were constantly ill with respiratory issues. They both quit decades ago now. My mom simply didn't buy more when she ran out and never felt the urge to smoke again. Dad had a slightly rougher time but eventually quit as well. So, yes, I am a smoke hater. But I understand that people smoke. They smoke here in the US and they smoke in Europe. As long as they are not smoking in a non-smoking area, I have no issue with them doing whatever they do. I am not going to sit at an outdoor table in Paris and cough at smokers sitting near me, however I am very happy that the EU banned smoking in restaurants and many other indoor spaces. It makes my visits, and I'm sure those of millions of others, more enjoyable to be able to have a drink in a pub and not walk out smelling like I was rolled in an ashtray.
Some people use e-cigarettes to keep themselves off of tobacco. They tend to use it after a meal, are usually unobtrusive and quiet about it. They just need that nicotine and the fiddly hand to mouth habit. They'll often step outside or away from others, because that's what they were doing with cigarettes anyway. These people are welcome to use their e-cigarettes, in my opinion.
Others vape away constantly, with clouds of vapor around them. They often do it inside stores and restaurants, loudly proclaiming that it's not against the law. They're proud of the way their vapor smells. These people can kiss the bottom of my shoe. I think they're the same ones who would spray a pier full of strangers with their jet ski and laugh about it.
So, same product, different people and different behaviors. A reminder of respectful behavior may be required.