It’s no longer considered acceptable in most places for people to smoke in public. In fact, there are specific anti-smoking policies in many counties and cities. Some states have even enacted smoking bans.
Airlines led this push. It has been illegal to smoke on airplanes for a long time. Now restaurants are joining suit. In a few years, smoking in restaurants will seem as bizarre and ridiculous as smoking on an airplane.
We also see health warnings about smoking more frequently. This is because large tobacco companies have been forced to produce anti-smoking educational materials for broadcast on television and on the Web. This, along with the other changes already noted, has shifted social attitudes about smoking decidedly toward the negative.
People have asked companions “Do you mind if I smoke” for a long time, but the difference is that now the question is not rhetorical. Now people need to ask this question because others may actually mind. Smoking can be irritating and harmful to those around you.
It is no longer fashionable or stylish to smoke. Movie characters that smoke are those who are stupid, evil, desperate, or pitiful.
In many states, smokers can no longer smoke in public places at all. In others, there are laws that mandate how far away a smoker has to be from a building before lighting up.
Breaking these anti-smoking laws can lead to jail time or hefty fines. Don’t smoke where it is illegal to smoke or it will cost you. And if there are no laws about smoking in an area, you still need to worry about whether you will be offending others.
Smoking is not as accepted as it used to be in the United States. Don’t light up between courses at dinner unless you ask those around you first. Also, if you need to smoke after dinner you should ask your companions if this is ok, and if they object you may want to consider going outside to light up.