Yes, I know that today smoking a cigarette, pipe or cigar can be classed as the eighth deadly sin. I am also aware that the last cigarette I smoked, after what seemed to be a lifetime of the habit, was in June 2017. So I’m an ex-smoker. But I’m not one of those evangelical non-smokers who tries to convert everyone to a smoke-free life.

But I am an Airbnb host and I know only too well what it can be like if someone smokes in your rental when it’s clearly against your house rules.

And just about every Airbnb host I’ve ever come across has had a strict no-smoking policy in their rentals. Even hosts who will admit to the occasional sneaky cigarette bans smoking – as I did before the last cigarette passed my lips.

One good reason for this is for the comfort of your next guests. If you’ve just had smoking guests depart and you have to turn the place over in a couple of hours to prepare it for non-smoking guests, then you’ve got your work cut out.

Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke gets in everywhere. It gets its smell into soft furnishings, mattresses, carpets, rugs, cushions, pillows, upholstery, even into the very fabric of the walls themselves.

It’s a frequent lament of Airbnb or short-term rental hosts – ‘how do I get rid of the smell of smoke?’

There are various ways but none is foolproof and quick. There are various detectors that will determine that someone has been smoking in your rental but by that time it’s too late, the damage is done. It’s much easier to prevent people from smoking in your place, to begin with. But how?

It starts, of course, with your listing or ad. Make sure that you specify that guests are NOT allowed to smoke on the premises. Make it a definite house rule. But as we’ve seen, this doesn’t always do the trick.

But if you, or your co-host or property manager meet and greet your guests, then it’s easy to head smokers off at the pass. When you first meet your guests and you’re showing them around your place watch for the following:

  • If your guests have been smoking in the car on the way to your place you’ll be able to smell the smoke on them
  • If smoking is banned in their car then they might have stopped just up the road for a cigarette before getting to you. You’ll smell that too
  • They might even pull up in your driveway or street and have a smoke before ringing your doorbell so spy on them when they arrive
  • The smell of mint (mouthwash, toothpaste, chewing gum) can also be suggestive of the guests wanting to hide their smokey breath
  • Smokers may have yellower teeth than normal
  • Watch for tell-tale bulges in their shirt or jeans pockets. Is that the size and shape of a pack of Marlboro?
  • Is the guest sneakily casting his/her eyes around to check out your smoke alarm?
  • Glance at the guests’ fingers. Any slight yellowish nicotine suggestion there?
  • Smokers, especially women, often develop fine wrinkles around their mouths
  • Listen out for a gravelly smokers’ cough!

It might be that you’ve realised that you’ve got smokers on your hands right away (you’ve seen them smoking when they got out of the car or you can distinctly smell the smoke on them) or you might think that there’s only a 10% chance that you’ve got smokers on your hands but now is the time to act.

Get your own story. It doesn’t need to be true. Mine, which is true as it happens, is telling the guests that one time I saw dolphins cavorting in the water in front of the apartment. I saw them because it was early in the morning and I’d just got up and was out there having a smoke.

This tends to embolden guests. ‘Oh, I smoke too. Can I smoke outside?’

This gives you absolutely every opportunity to explain where they can smoke, when they can smoke and how they need to be sure to tidy up their butts. After all, you are a fellow smoker, albeit reformed, and you might even be lying but it works!

Even if the guest does not mention the fact that they smoke, you have a rapport by now, yes? ‘Hey Jim, I see that pack of Marlboro in your shirt pocket. Hey, I’d love a cigarette but it’s been over a year now so don’t tempt me.  You know that you can’t smoke in the apartment of course, but please feel free to smoke out there on the dock.’

‘Just be sure that you don’t leave the butts out there. I used to put them into a used beer can then put it in the trash…’

Guest is comfortable about smoking. You are comfortable that you’ve prevented a ‘smoking in the apartment’ problem. Good for everyone.





JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.

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