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Cruise Lines’ Smoking Bans Help Passengers Traveling with Oxygen Breathe More Easily and Safely

More and more cruise lines are now enforcing smoking policies that prohibit smoking in staterooms. Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Line recently announced that smoking will soon be banned in all of their ships’ staterooms. The three companies join other cruise lines including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania and Azamara in banning passengers from lighting up in staterooms.


Officials from the three companies stated that the change is a reflection of guest preferences. Studies show that smokers are a small percentage of the lines’ total passengers, and that the large majority of passengers wish to enjoy a smoke-free onboard living space.


However, for oxygen users, the smoking ban is also a great safety improvement. It’s a universal restriction for passengers using oxygen to stay away from areas where others are smoking, and of course, to avoid smoking themselves.  


Pure oxygen is extremely flammable. Striking a match or holding a lit cigarette anywhere near the oxygen can start a fire. Every year, many people are seriously injured or killed due to burns suffered from smoking while on oxygen.


According to the Massachusetts General Hospital, even when the oxygen delivery system is turned off, oxygen molecules can still cling to the hair, skin and clothing, and ignite upon contact with any source of flame. Burns typically affect the face, ears, and neck. Some injuries are serious enough to require skin grafts.


Not only can smoking around oxygen equipment result in personal injury, but it can also cause damage to personal property.


While most cruise lines still allow smoking in areas such as discos, casinos, open decks, cigar lounges, and stateroom balconies, the ban is a great step forward in making cruising safer for those using oxygen. 


All cruise lines allow oxygen on board. However, each line has specific guidelines or requirements for guests to follow.


Cruise line policy states that passengers cannot pack oxygen equipment in, or with, their luggage. Therefore, they must bring it onboard themselves. Cruise lines will not be held responsible for any missing equipment or damages, and passengers can be held liable if anyone is injured by the equipment.


Instead of worrying about the possibility that their oxygen equipment won’t make it on board in one piece, many passengers are opting to rent it from Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea. The company delivers directly to cruise ships at ports around the world and works closely with almost every major cruise line. Special Needs Group delivers the equipment directly to the stateroom before sailing, and picks it up at disembarkation. The company handles all the details regarding the equipment, and the oxygen will be delivered in accordance with the line’s requirements.


Special Needs Group is certified and licensed to carry all types of oxygen delivering systems from traditional gaseous oxygen cylinders in a variety of types and sizes, to liquid oxygen systems, to the newest Personal Oxygen Concentrators (POCs). Additionally, the company’s staff is trained to ask the right questions up front to ensure passengers get the oxygen they need and, most importantly, delivered using a method they know and understand.


Due to the fact that all oxygen orders require a doctor’s prescription, all respiratory oxygen rentals must be ordered over the phone, and prescriptions must be faxed or mailed. Contact Special Needs Group/Special Needs at Sea at 1-954-585-0575 or 1-800-513-4515, or visit for more information.


The smoking bans that many cruise lines are now putting into place are not only improving many passengers’ cruise experiences, but also the safety of those who travel with oxygen and those around them.


July 21, 2011





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