The availability of smoking-permitted accommodations from Airbnb in 12 Canadian cities

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Abstract

Purpose

Airbnb is a web-based peer-to-peer (P2P) service that enables potential hosts and guests to broker accommodations in private homes as an alternative to traditional hotels. The hospitality sector has increasingly gone smoke-free over the last decade. This study identified the availability and cost of smoking-permitted accommodations identified on Airbnb.

Methods

The study team searched for Airbnb accommodations in 12 Canadian cities across each of Canada’s 10 provinces. Searches included availability for a single person for a private room, or double occupancy for an entire home/apartment; searches were for 1-night and 1-week stays.

Results

Cities across Canada, including Regina, Fredericton and Charlottetown, had no smoking-permitted accommodations available for the searches conducted. The proportion of private rooms available for one night that permitted smoking ranged from 2% in Calgary, 4% in Winnipeg and St. John’s, 10% in Halifax and Victoria, 18% in Toronto, 45% in Vancouver and 69% in Montréal. The average cost for a private room for one night in Vancouver was $128, while the cost for a private room that permits smoking was $62; however, in other markets prices were more similar.

Discussion

Across Canada, there is a wide range of smoking-permitted accommodations available through Airbnb. In some markets, smoking-permitted accommodation may be significantly less expensive than smoke-free options. As hotel chains increasingly go smoke-free, it is possible that the marketplace will respond with offerings to fulfil consumer demand. As policy makers consider how to regulate P2P services like Airbnb, public health considerations should be included.

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