Smoking Etiquette

How can you politely ask someone to stop smoking?

Trent Armstrong
4-minute read
Episode #120

I think we can all agree that smoking is a polarizing topic. Non-smokers are likely to have a very strong opinion about where and when someone should be able to smoke. And smokers are likely to feel they should not be harassed for smoking.

Your Modern Manners Guy is not here as judge. I'm only here to get everyone on the same page with the manners of smoking.

How Should Smokers React to Comments from Non-Smokers?

Smokers, let me address you first and ask for something really big. Please be patient with non-smokers. Most non-smokers don't realize that smoking is actually very difficult to stop and that many smokers don't actually want to stop. When a non-smoker rudely asks, "Why in the world would you smoke?" please don't extinguish your cigarette on that person. He or she needs a slight paradigm shift. Be gracious and do your best to diffuse the situation, even if you allow the non-smoker to think they won the confrontation. A negative response from you will only prove what this person already thinks-- that smokers don't care about others. You know that's not the case, so prove them wrong.

How to React When Someone Asks You to Stop Smoking

Also, if you are smoking around others and someone approaches you to politely request that you put your cigarette out, don't sweat it. Put out your smoke or just move to another location. Either response is easy, and your reaction to their politeness will reinforce polite behavior in them. And it's better for everyone if people are encouraged to be more polite.