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Smoking Around The World




If Don Draper was dropped into present day, it’s fair to guess that he’d have a pretty hard time adjusting to American life in 2012. And one of the new realities that would surely make the chain smoking ad man’s head explode is the cultural crackdown on cigarette smoking.

For travelers looking to be as healthy as they can be, the tighter smoking restrictions around the globe have been a blessing. Smoke-free airplanes, attractions and restaurants can make the experience far more enjoyable for those that don’t feel like being inundated with second hand smoke.

But it is far from a smoke-free world. There are one billion smokers in the world. According to the latest figures – which are about five years old – 47 million of them live in the U.S.  And while smokers probably feel like they can’t smoke anywhere, the truth is that most of the world is still puffing away, or at least allowing you to. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 11 percent of the world’s population is protected by national smoke-free laws; 15 percent is protected from second-hand smoke. Globally, more people are smoking than ever before. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries.

So, yeah, it’s still a little hazy out there. The WHO is trying to stop the spread of smoking, recently holding World No Tobacco Day.

For travelers, avoiding smoking is easier than before, but you need to know where to go. And, if on the flip side, you want to go where you can smoke until you’re blue in the face, the World Tourism Forum recommends heading to Croatia or Egypt, where smoking is practically the national pastime.

This infographic shows the countries that smoke the most and that smoke the least. One look and you’ll know not to complain about the person in Havana smoking next to you– a whopping 40 percent of the Cuban population smokes.

But given the fact that you’re reading something called Healthy Travel Blog, we suspect you’re more interested in avoiding heavy smoking populations. If so, heading to South America or Africa is a good idea, although this isn’t universally true – some countries on these continents (South Africa, Argentina) puff away. But popular vacation destinations such as Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic don’t have nearly the number of smokers.

Over the last couple years, many countries have adopted anti-smoking laws, especially in European nations with a rich history of sucking down nicotine, such as France, Italy and Greece. The Netherlands, which has a long history of being lax on smoking anything, no longer allows you to smoke cigarettes in public places, and as you may recall, is making it harder for tourists who flock there to smoke that other stuff.

Photo by fakevlis.


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Linda Barbara

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