Advice for Au Pairs

Smoking and Vaping in the US

There are better ways to spend your time and money than on smoking or vaping.
Image courtesy of Unsplash

While smoking or vaping is technically not against the rules of the au pair program, it is frowned upon in American culture. In fact, most host families do not allow smoking in their homes and will not hire an au pair who smokes, even socially.

Social smoking or vaping is only smoking occasionally in social situations. Most au pairs understand the health risks of smoking, but may not have considered the impact it can have on their au pair program. Some host families may end a placement if they become aware that their au pair smokes, even socially.

There are plenty of reasons not to smoke or vape.

  • It has been proven to cause illness, cancer, and death, including problems with the lungs and heart. Smoking kills over 480,000 people in the U.S. every year.
  • Medical professionals have recently starting to report deaths caused by vaping.
  • Secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer and other illnesses. It’s especially dangerous to children.
  • Host families with infants do not want the chemicals from smoke around their babies. This includes chemicals that remain in hair and clothes after smoking.
  • Smoking sets a bad example for host kids. They learn about the dangers of smoking in school, and they know not to do it.
  • Most host families don’t allow smoking, and if they become aware of smoking, they may end their placement.
  • Au pairs who smoke may have a difficult time rematching
  • The smell of smoke stays in clothes, hair, a car, and a room. Breath mints or perfume can’t hide the smell of smoke.
  • Smoking or vaping is expensive. Au pairs can save that money and use it for fun adventures in the U.S.

Here are some tips to help you avoid smoking.

  • If you don’t smoke or vape, do not start. It’s addictive!
  • Ask a friend to keep you accountable and to stop you if you start to smoke.
  • Stay out of situations where you would want to smoke, like a nightclub.
  • Avoid people who are smoking.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Exercise when you feel the urge to smoke.
  • Practice meditation or yoga.
  • Think about the benefits of not smoking and remind yourself that your host kids look up to you.
  • Find a support group in your community.

If you’re struggling not to smoke, it’s best to be honest and ask for help. Reach out to your host family or Local Coordinator and ask for their support.

Joy Lo

Joy is a huge advocate for cultural exchange. She's lived across the U.S. and various countries around the world including the UK, Australia and Indonesia. She has a unique perspective on working and thriving in other cultures. She's been a contributing author on Au Pair USA program.