Strategy for smokers.

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Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
11
First, if you're a non-smoker or anti-smoker, please don't post quips like "Why don't you just quit?" or missives about the dangers of tobacco. This post is meant for people (like me) who are unrepentant smokers with no plans to quit.

This year, I'm taking the longest rail trip I've ever taken in my life ... from Portland, Oregon to Port Henry, New York. And as a smoker, I was understandably curious as to what tips other smokers might have on how to deal with nicotine cravings. Please post any tips you've found useful. In the meantime, I'll post a tip given to me by a friend who also smokes and takes long train trips.

When I asked him how he dealt with the cravings, he said he never has any - by doing two things.

1) Make note of (and utilize) every stop your train makes that is 15 minutes or longer (as noted in the schedule) as a cigarette break. And because you have to leave the train, be sure to leave a coat or bag on your seat so a new passenger doesn't sit in it.

2) Buy a week's supply of "nicotine patches" from a drug or grocery store - the patches people use sometimes when they're trying to quit. Apply (or replace) one patch per day for each day of travel.

He told me that by following those two tips, nicotine cravings simply don't materialize. :cool:

Regards,

J. Alec West
 

Alice

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
965
I have traveled with smokers. In addition to what your friend said, mention to car attendant you are a smoker as some of them will give you a heads up. There are many smoke stops besides the ones in the schedule. Give a good tip if you get good warnings! If you have a choice of car, sit in one where the car attendant is also a smoker.

Lozenges or gum might also help. You might try your choice of nicotine replacement before leaving home.
 

lthanlon

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 13, 2010
Messages
653
Is smokeless tobacco an option? Some brands are available in little packets or as snus. As for spitting, that can be done discreetly -- and into a little cup or soda can.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
6
This has been the one thing which has kept me off trains. They certainly could have a 'smoker' car to accommodate for passengers who smoke!

-30-
 

SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,071
This has been the one thing which has kept me off trains. They certainly could have a 'smoker' car to accommodate for passengers who smoke!

-30-
I think the expense that would require is keeping them from doing so. The air filtration would have to be on a separate system. Plus, it would require more cleaning, as the windows and seats would get pretty yellow after some time.

Also, I'm not sure if this is another reason, but some states don't allow smoking inside buildings. Since Amtrak follows many state laws, including those regarding alcohol, they may get into a sticky wicket if they allow smoking in a train car in Michigan, New Mexico, Illinois, etc.
 

SarahZ

Conductor
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May 8, 2011
Messages
8,071
OP: some conductors are really good about announcing how long each stop will be. Generally, they'll say, "We're only opening the door in one car for departing passengers only. There is no smoking at this stop."

Or, they'll say, "We're going to be at this stop for five minutes, so if you want a quick smoke, hurry outside... just be sure to stay close and listen for the conductors and whistle."

They also announce the major smoking stops and how long it will be (10 mins, 15 mins, 30 mins).

For example, the SWC only has a few longer smoking stops on its route, but my boyfriend was able to step off for a cigarette several times between Chicago and Albuquerque. Sometimes you get lucky if the train is ahead of schedule and can stop a few minutes longer at a few stops. :)
 

trainviews

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
240
This has been the one thing which has kept me off trains. They certainly could have a 'smoker' car to accommodate for passengers who smoke!

-30-
One of the things that killed the smoking cars here in Denmark was that noone wanted to sit in them - not even the smokers. They tended to reserve seats in other cars and then just wander into the smoking car for the smokes...

Another aspect is working environment for the crew. A smokefilled car is probably not considered a safe and sound working place any more.
 

NomDePlume

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
87
E-cigarettes should be an allowed option, yes? Not that anyone would notice someone using one in the bathroom anyway like they would if you tried it with a real cig.
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,353
One of the things that killed the smoking cars here in Denmark was that noone wanted to sit in them - not even the smokers. They tended to reserve seats in other cars and then just wander into the smoking car for the smokes...
geez, how long can a train ride be in Denmark?

In terms of e-cigarettes, you may wish to review this thread.
 

amamba

Conductor
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
4,083
I don't believe that you are supposed to use the e-cigs on amtrak, but I observed a person using one on the CS in the PPC and no one said anything.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,032
First, if you're a non-smoker or anti-smoker, please don't post quips like "Why don't you just quit?" or missives about the dangers of tobacco. This post is meant for people (like me) who are unrepentant smokers with no plans to quit.

This year, I'm taking the longest rail trip I've ever taken in my life ... from Portland, Oregon to Port Henry, New York. And as a smoker, I was understandably curious as to what tips other smokers might have on how to deal with nicotine cravings. Please post any tips you've found useful. In the meantime, I'll post a tip given to me by a friend who also smokes and takes long train trips.

When I asked him how he dealt with the cravings, he said he never has any - by doing two things.

1) Make note of (and utilize) every stop your train makes that is 15 minutes or longer (as noted in the schedule) as a cigarette break. And because you have to leave the train, be sure to leave a coat or bag on your seat so a new passenger doesn't sit in it.

2) Buy a week's supply of "nicotine patches" from a drug or grocery store - the patches people use sometimes when they're trying to quit. Apply (or replace) one patch per day for each day of travel.

He told me that by following those two tips, nicotine cravings simply don't materialize. :cool:

Regards,

J. Alec West
No need to put something down on the seat. Your seat is held by a "seat check" that the conductor that lifts you ticket will put in a holder above your seat to show it is occupied. You'll be out of your seat to go the the lounge or diner as well as to get off and smoke. It's not an airplane and you can get out of your seat and wander around as you like.

There are more "long" stops than those shown in the timetable with both arrival and departure times. They are often service and/or crew change stops where the stop will be relatively long anyway. Others are simply busy stops that will be long anyway. The stops where they allow passengers to get off are now typically called "fresh air" stops. These are usually roughly every 2 hours, but some are closer to 5 or 10 minutes long than 15 minutes long. They will announce which stops you'll be allowed off to stretch your legs. On the Empire Builder, I know they are at Spokane, Whitefish, Shelby, Havre, Williston, Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Red Wing (I think), Milwaukee. The Seattle section has a "fresh air" stop in Wenatchee, and I think the Portland section has one at Pasco.

Don't get off unless they announce it, and stay near the train when you do.
 
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IowaGirl

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Messages
89
I am not a smoker - but the e-cigs look promising! Sure wish those had been around when a family member was desperately trying to quit.

Is there ANYTHING that can be done for the smokers hack? I had THE WORST trip of my life when a smoker hacked the entire night right behind me. He would quite down just as we pulled into another stop and off he would go. And then the hacking would start again. It was terrible.
 

EB_OBS

Conductor
Joined
Mar 26, 2009
Messages
1,049
On the Empire Builder, I know they are at Spokane, Whitefish, Shelby, Havre, Williston, Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Red Wing (I think), Milwaukee. The Seattle section has a "fresh air" stop in Wenatchee, and I think the Portland section has one at Pasco.
Don't get off unless they announce it, and stay near the train when you do.
The official smoke break stops on the Empire Builder are Spokane, Whitefish, Havre, Minot and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The following stops, Wenatchee, Pasco, Shelby and Williston and Milwaukee, will only be a "fresh air" break if the train is not running late or if the conductor thinks there will be several minutes to load/unload anyway. Grand Forks is not, neither is Fargo.
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
This has been the one thing which has kept me off trains. They certainly could have a 'smoker' car to accommodate for passengers who smoke!

-30-
For a number of years Amtrak did have a specially enclosed room on each long distance train for smokers to head to in between the longer stops.

Unfortunately a few too many smokers abused the privilege and Amtrak removed the special rooms from all train cars, save a few special cars that operate only on the Auto Train, which makes no regularly scheduled passenger stops between Virginia and Florida.

The abuse ranged from smaller issues like just throwing the butts anywhere in the room; to dropping them into half empty cups of soda or coffee, which invariably spilled creating a wonderfully sticky mess; to the mega, where they'd decide that the room was too smokey for them and prop open the door to the room which then filled the entire car with smoke. And cleaning in general was just harder for those cars too, but it was the abuses that really killed things.
 

boxcar817

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
592
I no longer smoke and respect the choice of those that do, however when I step off the train for a "fresh air" break I really don't want to inhale your smoke, so please move far enough away from the door (staying in sight of car attendant/conductor so you can hear and see when it is time to re-board) and judge the wind direction so your smoke doesn't blow on those entering or exiting the train. The patches are a good idea. I smoked for 37 years and thought I would never quit, I was able quit using the patch.
 

D.P. Roberts

Conductor
Joined
Aug 16, 2006
Messages
1,316
I no longer smoke and respect the choice of those that do, however when I step off the train for a "fresh air" break I really don't want to inhale your smoke, so please move far enough away from the door (staying in sight of car attendant/conductor so you can hear and see when it is time to re-board) and judge the wind direction so your smoke doesn't blow on those entering or exiting the train.
Yeah, this is one of the things that bothers me most about traveling on Amtrak. After breathing cooped up air for a day or two, I'd like to get off the train and get some fresh air. You get far enough away from the train to get away from the diesel fumes... and end up with the smokers. It would be nice if Amtrak designated a smoking spot for every train and stop, so everybody knew where to go. For example, smokers are always at the front of the train, nonsmokers near the back, or something like that.
 

Montanan

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
544
I no longer smoke and respect the choice of those that do, however when I step off the train for a "fresh air" break I really don't want to inhale your smoke, so please move far enough away from the door (staying in sight of car attendant/conductor so you can hear and see when it is time to re-board) and judge the wind direction so your smoke doesn't blow on those entering or exiting the train. The patches are a good idea. I smoked for 37 years and thought I would never quit, I was able quit using the patch.
Agreed. And frankly, please don't sit next to me in the dining car, either. There are few things more able to kill an appetite than being seated next to someone dressed in stale-smoke clothing.

The point is, a train is basically an encapsulated community ... there's simply no way to escape second-hand smoke and its associated odor.
 

Ana

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
82
One of the things that killed the smoking cars here in Denmark was that noone wanted to sit in them - not even the smokers. They tended to reserve seats in other cars and then just wander into the smoking car for the smokes...
Interesting. When I went to school in Germany, all the other school kids rode in the smoking car. I couldn't bear the smoke so I sat, alone, in the non-smoker. I preferred getting the (non-smoking only) bus, I felt less anti-social!
 
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SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,071
I am not a smoker - but the e-cigs look promising! Sure wish those had been around when a family member was desperately trying to quit.

Is there ANYTHING that can be done for the smokers hack? I had THE WORST trip of my life when a smoker hacked the entire night right behind me. He would quite down just as we pulled into another stop and off he would go. And then the hacking would start again. It was terrible.
Unfortunately, no. The hack is caused by irritated bronchial tubes and mucous build-up. Cough drops won't touch it. It's similar to the hacking cough you get when you suffer from bronchitis.
 

kal-tex

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
71
Nicotine gum worked well for me. Managed to quit after 2-pack-a-day for 40 years! My only problem now is that I'm addicted to the gum! :D
 

trainviews

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
240
One of the things that killed the smoking cars here in Denmark was that noone wanted to sit in them - not even the smokers. They tended to reserve seats in other cars and then just wander into the smoking car for the smokes...
geez, how long can a train ride be in Denmark?

In terms of e-cigarettes, you may wish to review this thread.
About 5 hours end to end :rolleyes: - 7 back then when the Great Belt was still crossed by ferry, but then you could of course smoke there...
 

Bierboy

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 14, 2008
Messages
550
This has been the one thing which has kept me off trains. They certainly could have a 'smoker' car to accommodate for passengers who smoke!

-30-
That's not gonna work (as mentioned by many previous posters), but the main reason is the poor folks who would have to walk through that car...ugh.

And I also agree with those asking Amtrak to designate a spot on (or off) the platform for smokers. I've gagged on first- and second-hand smoke while trying to catch some fresh air...
 

JayPea

Conductor
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
3,826
Last fall when returning to Spokane from Seattle on the EB, while on a smoke stop in Wenatchee, Amtrak personnel enforced th3 25 foot rule. I had never seen this enforced before. As a non-smoker, I must say that it didn't exactly bother me to be able to enjoy fresh air on this particular smoke stop.
 
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