For those who choose to smoke cigarettes (or ‘vape’ e-cigarettes) in public, there is an expected cigarette etiquette which accompanies this behavior. As with all etiquette, these social rules are in order to ensure the least discomfort for everyone present. Smoking in public places is often the cause of must unpleasantness, when the smoker is not exercising appropriate conduct for the situation.
Times when there is definitely “No Smoking”
- No smoking around children, especially in cars. Cigarette smoke can cause lung development issues, ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- No smoking around pregnant women. Exposure to second-hand smoke can cause miscarriage, early birth, low birth weight, and developmental problems.
- No smoking in the presence of those people who state that they are allergic to cigarette smoke. Some people can have serious health complications resulting from second-hand smoke.
- No smoking if people are still eating. Etiquette says that as long as there are dinner plates on the table, then there is to be no smoking.
- Always remain aware of current legislation for your state/county regarding cigarette smoking in public places. Start by visiting this Wikipedia page on Smoking Bans for various countries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_smoking_bans
Is it absolutely necessary?
- Be conscious of a time and a place to smoke.
- If you can possibly avoid having a cigarette in public, and wait until you are in a private environment, then this is always the wisest choice.
Before lighting up:
- If you are in a mixed group of smokers/non-smokers, either ask if it is okay for you to smoke or step away to a safe place where your cigarette smoke will not disturb anyone.
- Always hold your cigarette away to ensure that nobody could be inadvertently be burned by your (or their) carelessness.
- Blow your cigarette smoke away. If it is a crowded room, blow your smoke straight up. Watch the flow of the smoke to be sure that it is not blowing back into the faces of others.
- Be responsible for your own cigarette butts. Nobody wants to go around picking up your discarded cigarette butts on the ground.
- Never toss cigarette butts on the lawn or the street.
- No cigarette butts out of car window.
- Do not extinguish cigarettes by dropping them into empty bottles. Many homeowners rinse their recyclables and finding cigarette butts in your sink is a very unpleasant experience.
- Cigarette butts can be dealt with by always carrying a disposable astray. If you don’t have an ashtray with you, flick out remaining tobacco and pocket or bin the butt.
At someones home:
- If the householder is a non-smoker, try to go outside to smoke, even if they say it is okay. Their courtesy may see them suffering with a smelly home for weeks.
- Do not put your cigarettes out in their potted plants. Not only could children put them in their mouth, but the homeowner will probably be fishing them out after you leave.
Being asked for a cigarette (a bummer):
- This is usually left to the discretion of the individual.
- The general consensus seems to be that is it acceptable to provide a cigarette (every now and again) for a friend, while strangers are not extended this courtesy.
- Some people will only give a cigarette to a stranger if they offer to pay for it. Whether you accept the money or not if up to you, but they have demonstrated that they are fully aware of the rising cost of cigarettes, and are not trying to freeload.
Being offered a light:
- If someone offers to light your cigarette, then take their hand and guide it to your cigarette. One normally would then look the gentleman in the eyes, and offer thanks.
- If you would like to offer a lady a light, you are to offer your light to the lady before you light your own cigarette. Do not raise the light directly to her face, as it can be frightening and dangerous. Keep it about a foot (30cm) from her face and let her guide it to her cigarette.
Rude comments from Non-Smokers:
- Non-smokers often feel an obligation or a thrill in making comments to non-smokers.
- Just smile and tolerate it.
- Give what they are saying some personal thought.
Do you have any cigarette etiquette to share?
Please let me know your thoughts