Dining etiquette serves an important role in making meals more pleasant for everyone at the table. Certain behaviors like smoking can be disruptive or disrespectful if done inconsiderately during a shared meal. Here we’ll explore courteous smoking manners, how to avoid disturbing fellow diners, and tips for being mindful when indulging in cigarettes or vaping at the table.
The Case for Courtesy
Smoking while eating socially obligates mindfulness of how it affects others at the table. Secondhand smoke and vapors directly impact their experience and health. Beyond the lawfulness of smoking itself, etiquette reminds us to make considerate choices that avoid creating discomfort or difficulties for companions.
##Mindful Smoking Manners
If electing to smoke during a meal, common courtesy suggests:
- Asking fellow diners if they mind you smoking at the table, and respecting objections graciously.
- Choosing outdoor seating or smoking areas whenever available to contain smoke drift.
- Sitting apart from nonsmokers or downwind to avoid direct smoke blowing towards them.
- Asking before smoking around pregnant women, children, elderly or medically sensitive guests.
- Minimizing smoke volume to quick puffs rather than prolonged billowing exhalations.
- Not leaning over the table or gesturing emphatically with lit cigarettes, which can risk burns.
- Abstaining from smoking during meals in private homes without the host’s explicit approval.
- Offering to step away from the table between courses to smoke discreetly out of sight if needed.
- Closing car windows and turning vents if smoking while others are in the vehicle.
How Smoke Can Disrupt Hospitality
To appreciate why smoking manners matter, consider:
- Secondhand smoke triggers allergic reactions, asthma, nausea or headaches for many people if directly exposed.
- Lingering smoky odors saturate hair and clothing of nonsmokers, persisting after the meal.
- Watching someone smoke can indirectly trigger cravings and temptations for former smokers trying to abstain.
- Smoke drifting across the table can hinder visibility and ambiance, obscuring peoples’ faces.
- Handling and passing food on shared platters can be unappetizing with smoky fingers and lips.
- Concentrating smoke around the table impairs flavors, aromas and nose-feel for wine, cocktails or cuisine.
- Wind can carry secondhand smoke inside buildings, disturbing patrons at neighboring tables.
Alternatives to Minimize Smoke
If smoking urges hit during dining, some tactics to minimize impacts include:
- Nicotine chewing gum, lozenges or patches to discreetly manage cravings when actual smoking is impolite.
- Electronic cigarettes that generate vapor instead of smoke, used considerately.
- Brief smoke breaks between courses in designated outdoor areas, with timely returns.
- Tableside air purifiers that quickly filter ambient cigarette smoke from the air.
- Communicating smoking preferences ahead for private events and celebrations through invitations.
- Choosing well-ventilated restaurant patios or outside tables to divert smoke.
- Following rules of establishments that prohibit smoking on the premises.
The Thoughtfulness of Good Manners
Basic manners exist not to dictate, but to enable everyone’s enjoyment and comfort at the table. By thoughtfully minimizing secondhand smoke during shared meals, we uplift the spirit of togetherness. With care for others and situational awareness, smoking can be one’s personal choice without diminishing the hospitality of the table.