Study: Airbnb Hosts Are Responding as Hotels Go Smoke-Free

While traveling, smokers may have reason to seek accommodations through Airbnb, and they may even save money by doing so. This is according to a recent Canadian study, which investigated the cost and availability of smoking-permitted Airbnb markets across Canada.

As hotel chains ban smoking in growing numbers, the researchers predict that the availability of smoke-friendly peer-to-peer rentals will increase in demand. This availability, however, varies by city.

The researchers examined the Airbnb market in 12 Canadian cities. They discovered that Regina, Fredericton, and Charlottetown did not have smoking-permitted accommodations in the online search. In Toronto, 45% of the search results permitted smoking, and 69% of rentals in Vancouver offered this option, making it the most smoke-friendly city in the study.

Vancouver also demonstrated a palpable cost difference in smoking versus non-smoking accommodations. A private Airbnb room in the city costs $128 on average, while a smoking room costs just $62 per night, according to the study results. The researchers reported that room cost comparisons in other cities revealed prices that were much closer.

Airbnb press secretary Benjamin Breit said in an email to Reuters that the company does not monitor smoking accommodations.

“This is just not an issue we pay much attention to or measure,” he said. “Hosts set their own rules on things like that.”

This decision is between the host and the guest, Ryan Kennedy, the lead author on the study, also told Reuters in an email.

“For Airbnb guests — if you want to stay in a smoke-free environment be sure to ask the host explicitly if smoking ever takes place inside,” he said. “For Airbnb hosts — in most markets, not permitting smoking is associated with higher average prices and more bookings.”

In the study, the researchers said that “public health considerations should be included.” Both the Canadian and American departments of health discourage smoking, citing its adverse health effects. Smoking can lead to cancers and a variety of upper respiratory issues, which was the most common diagnosis in urgent care centers in the United States in 2012.

To prevent doctor’s office visits such as these, and more serious conditions, be sure to speak with your medical professional about giving up smoking for good.

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