When I first decided to attempt the Everest Base Camp trek I was a smoker. I knew you had to be reasonably fit to do it, but I was worried because I was a smoker and I didn’t know if this would affect my ability to do the trek.
I’ve now successfully been to basecamp and back so I can answer the question…Can smokers do the Mt Everest base camp trek?
Yes, you can still smoke and do the Mt Everest base camp trek. It would be better if you were a nonsmoker but you can still do it. In fact, many people smoke and still complete the Mt Everest base camp trek.
So with that answered let’s go into a little more detail.
Oh and one thing before we go any further, I just want to say I’m not a doctor and if you climb at high altitude and smoke, it’s at your own risk.
This post is about my own personal experience with smoking and trekking the Everest base camp trail.
Should You Quit Smoking Before Attempting The Everest Base Camp Trek?
In my opinion, yes you should. But if that’s not going to happen then just aim to get fit as possible before your trek.
I was trying to quit for months unsuccessfully before my trek but I still did all the usual fitness prep beforehand.
I ended up smoking still on the trek and made it there and back with no problems.
Thankfully I’ve now quit smoking but I do understand the worry and frustration of trying to quit smoking before going to Everest.
If you can quit then do it, if you can’t then don’t worry, as long as you’re in overall good health then you should be ok.
Is Smoking OK At High Altitude?
From my own experience, it was the same smoking in altitude as it was smoking at ground level.
Something I did notice is that I naturally did not want to smoke as much. I think it’s because the airs thinner so I just wanted to breathe as much oxygen as possible.
I only smoked about 6 cigarettes a day from Lukla airport as I didn’t feel the urge as much.
Everyone has to go through a process of adjusting to the altitude and smoking does really feel like the last thing on your mind.
I was with a few other smokers on the trip and we all smoked much less than we usually did.
Smoking And High Altitude Sickness.
If you want to know does smoking increase the chances of altitude sickness?
I don’t think it makes too much difference.
I’m not a doctor and don’t know for sure how smoking affects the body with altitude related issues, but there was 3 of us who smoked on the trip and 2 of us were the only ones who got no symptoms of altitude sickness.
The other smoker ended up getting altitude sickness and getting helicoptered down 1 day away from basecamp.
In my option, it was nothing to do with him being a smoker. He was a big guy and I don’t think he stayed hydrated enough and that’s why he didn’t make it.
So two of us were better than everyone else in terms of altitude sickness and the other wasn’t. I think getting altitude sickness is down to a lot of other factors and smoking just being a small factor.
I also saw some of the porters smoking as well.
Do They Sell Cigarettes And Tobacco On The Everest Basecamp Trek?
Yes, they do. They sell cigarettes in some of the shops on the way up. I’m not sure how much they were as we bought some in Kathmandu beforehand.
It’s prob best to get some supplies in Kathmandu if you are going to smoke still as they get more expensive as you go up the mountain. Everything gets more expensive as you go up.
If you smoke rolling tobacco then it’s best to bring your own as well as I didn’t see that for sale as much.
Advice For Smokers Doing High Altitude Treks.
My biggest piece of advice is to quit duh! But if you’re going to be like I was and are still going to smoke at high altitude then just take it easy.
Don’t try and race up the mountain. Simply take your time and stop for plenty of breaks and DRINK PLENTY OF WATER!
I was always at the back taking my time. All the guys trekking way ahead of me ended up getting AS at some point.
Like I said, you must drink plenty of water. Like 4-5 liters a day.
Being de-hydrated effects the bodies natural ability to function well, and at high altitude, it’s even worse.
You must drink as much as you can. 2 liters isn’t enough, especially as you’re walking 4-7 hours a day.
Drink plenty of water, walk at a slow easy pace and stop for rests.
How To Quit Smoking Before Your High Altitude Trek?
If you want to quit then take this advice.
Something that I’ve used to help me now quit is Allen Carr’s the easy way to quit smoking. You can get the book or audiobook on Amazon here.
It’s helped millions quit all around the world, including me. I think this is a great book that makes quitting smoking really easy (as it says in the title).
I honestly wish I had of read it before I went on my trek as I would have quit beforehand.
Either way, if you want to stop so you can do your base camp trek feeling as best you can then I recommend you checking it out.
So there you go, you know have an answer to can Smokers do the Mt Everest base camp trek because I successfully did it!
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good luck. And if you do Mt Everest Base Camp as I did then have fun and enjoy the scenery!