Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cruise lines tighten tobacco rules

Varying policy on e-cigarettes causing concern

Sun Sentinel
By Arlene Satchell
January 12, 2012

Florida--Several cruise lines have further limited smoking on ships, leaving a few designated areas as the last refuge to light up at sea.

Princess Cruises' guests won't be allowed to smoke in staterooms or on balconies starting with sailings on Monday. Three other lines recently tightened their smoking rules or will join Princess in doing so next week.
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These new smoking rules vary when it comes to a certain segment of guests — former smokers who now use electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, to try to kick their habit.

Some lump them with traditional cigarette smokers, but others give them near-free rein in their revamped policies.

The policies pose a quandary for anyone who wants to enjoy a cruise but is trying hard to stay smoke-free.

"I know I'd cancel any plans of a cruise vacation if I thought my electronic cigarette wasn't welcome on board the cruise ship, and I know I'm not alone," said Laurel O'Neill of Nokomis, Fla.

No official user data are available, but industry research indicates at least a million Americans are using them, Elaine Keller, president of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association, said.

Princess will allow e-cigarette users, sometimes called "vapers," to smoke in staterooms and balconies but plans to ban traditional smoking in these areas when its new policy kicks in Monday.

That's as it should be, said Keller, a 45-year smoker until 2009. "It seems awfully silly to ban their use inside a cabin." With no tar or second-hand smoke residue, "there's no way a cruise line could tell if a guest has used one in a cabin," Keller added....

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