Smoking is often a hot-button topic for many people. When youíre relaxing at home, how you smoke doesnít matter; itís your space, so you can usually follow your own rules. If you venture out, though, you have to share that space (and air) with other people. Not only can poor smoking etiquette around others make you seem like a jerk, but it can even get you in trouble in some situations.
Are you worried that you donít have the proper smoking etiquette? Here are a few things to keep in mind next time youíre about to light up around others.
Know the Rules
Before you light up, make sure that smoking is allowed where you are. An increasing number of restaurants and other public spaces have banned smoking; in many cities, there are regulations prohibiting smoking in all places of business (yes, including bars). If youíre at a private residence, the same applies; be sure to ask your host before you light up. If smoking isnít allowed, youíll either have to wait until you leave or step outside to have your smoke. Regardless of where you are, donít forget to excuse yourself if you step away.
Ask Those Around You
If youíre with a group of people, take the time to ask whether they mind you smoking before you light up. Some wonít care, but others might. This is especially important if you arenít sure whether those in the group smoke or not. If there are other smokers in the group, take a moment to offer them a smoke as well. Even if they would rather smoke their own or donít feel like a smoke at the moment, making the gesture is the polite thing to do.
Watch Your Smoke
Though it should go without saying, always be careful where you direct your smoke when you exhale. Blowing your smoke in the direction of someone who doesnít smoke is in extremely poor taste Ė in some cases can even trigger problems such as an asthma attack. Make sure youíre not hanging out beside a door or open window when you smoke, since smoke could enter the building and expose others to it as they enter and exit. Be careful with your ashes and butts, too, disposing of them properly instead of just tossing them wherever outside.
Smoking and Conversation
If youíre around others while you smoke, make sure you donít take a puff or drag right before speaking Ė the last thing you want to do is end up blowing some of your smoke at the person youíre talking to. Stay back slightly from others in the conversation, since youíll have the smell of smoke on your breath as you talk. You may even want to carry a travel toothbrush or some breath-refreshing gum with you to freshen up after you smoke, excusing yourself to the bathroom if necessary to take care of your smokerís breath.
Interactions with Nonsmokers
Be polite when talking with nonsmokers, honoring their wishes if they ask you not to smoke. If youíre asked to put out a cigarette, smile and put it out. It may seem like youíre caving to pressure and you might feel like you have the right to finish your smoke, but remember that youíre sharing the space with them as well. Carefully put your extinguished cigarette away and excuse yourself when you have a moment so you can find some other place to finish it. If someone harasses you about smoking or asks you why you do something thatís so bad for you, politely state that you enjoy smoking and resist the urge to argue about it. If it continues, excuse yourself and find another conversation to join.
If smoking is allowed indoors, remember that many of these same rules apply. Be careful where you blow your smoke, being considerate of those around you. Be mindful of what youíre doing while you smoke, as you donít want to accidentally drop ashes or embers on the floor. If youíre worried about smoking indoors, feel free to excuse yourself for a smoke outside.
Making a First Impression
When meeting someone for the first time through an appointment, try to refrain from having a smoke until after you meet them. Coming into the meeting smelling like smoke can create a negative first impression youíll have to overcome. Have a smoke early, then grab a quick shower and put on clean clothes. Donít forget to brush your teeth. Once the meeting is over, you can then excuse yourself for a smoke without establishing a negative impression right off the bat.