As more and more cities enforce non smoking by laws, it is getting more and more difficult for a cigarette smoker to find a place to light up. Yes, smoking has become a dirty word in Canada, the US and in many other countries. And as increasingly more non smokers speak up, smoking has become a touchy subject for all. This becomes even more apparent when family and friends gather together indoors for winter celebrations. In the spirit of the season, consider the following guidelines for smoking etiquette:
- When in public or private buildings, only smoke in areas designated for smoking, or in areas where others go to smoke. Do what you can to ensure that the smoke does not drift in the direction of others.
- If ashtrays are not made available, assume that smoking is not permitted and do not request an ashtray.
- Refrain from smoking in the vicinity of pregnant women, infants and the elderly.
- If smoking is permitted in the venue, refrain from smoking in the presence of those who are eating. (In a group situation, wait until after dessert to light up if you are having a meal.
- Do not smoke in someone else’s car, as there is no escape for the other person.
- If you have a non smoking guest in your car, it is respectful to ask, “Do you mind if I smoke?(Though the best thing would be to refrain, as the other person may not be comfortable asking you not to smoke in your own car.
- If you visit the home of someone who does not smoke, only smoke outdoors.
- A smoker who has a non smoking houseguest may choose to refrain from smoking in the presence of that person. It is considerate to ensure that the guest’s room is free of the odour of smoke.
- If you are entertaining and smokers are attending, arrange for a comfortable smoking area outside if you prefer not to have smoke in the house. Everyone deserves to feel welcome. Have comfortable chairs, appropriate lighting and ashtrays available.
- Do not tell an acquaintance or business colleague that they should quit smoking in the interest of their health. This is considered intrusive, very personal and likely none of your business. Non smokers should respect a smoker’s right to smoke, as long as it is not done at a site designated as non smoking.
- Many people are allergic to smoke or have health problems like asthma. If you wish for someone in a public place to stop smoking, ask them very politely to discontinue – explaining the reason. When the individual extinguishes their cigarette, thank them sincerely.
During this festive season, whether you smoke or don’t, please consider those around you in this season’s spirit of giving.