Remember when you couldn’t go to a bar without coming home reeking of cigarette smoke? Now that many cities have banned smoking in bars and restaurants this is less of an issue, but occasionally I do encounter a smoker who insists on puffing away right in my face. While I feel that smoking is a personal choice, I do believe that smokers should be mindful of their etiquette so that their bad habit doesn’t infringe on other people. A few tips:
-No smoking means no smoking. Abstain from smoking in areas—hotel rooms, bars, airplane bathrooms, etc.—that are clearly marked as “non-smoking.” You’re almost certain to be caught. Remember that guy who caused an air terrorism scare because he lit up in the bathroom mid-flight?
-Take it outside. If you are visiting a friend, you should excuse yourself and go outside if you need a cigarette. Don’t assume that because you are among friends you will be free to stink up their home or car with smoke. In fact, I know quite a few smokers who don’t smoke in their own homes as the smell lingers on the furniture. Also, if smoking outside be sure to dispose of your cigarette stub. I once had a guest who left my driveway littered with cigarette butts!
-Be aware of other people. How many times have you walked down the street and been hit with a cloud of cigarette smoke courtesy of a passerby? Or had ashes flicked on you, or been dangerously close to a cigarette burn because a smoker was waving his or her arms around carelessly? If you’re a smoker, try to maintain a safe distance and be conscious of your actions — and avoid smoking near children.
-Carry around your own matches or lighters. This isn’t true of everyone, but barely a week goes by when someone doesn’t approach me or a friend and asks for a light or even a cigarette—and then gets upset when I have neither.
-Don’t take advantage of smoke breaks. I once worked in an office where several people smoked, and they stepped out every hour or so for 10- to 15-minute smoke breaks. But the non-smokers in the office couldn’t take the same liberties. Consult your employee handbook to see how your company treats personal breaks, and heed the rules.