Restaurant Smoking Etiquette


According to the American Heart Association, nearly 50 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Many restaurants in the U.S. still allow smoking and provide smoking areas. In order to be a considerate smoker, follow certain rules of etiquette while dining out to ensure you and the people around you can live harmoniously.

In some states, smoking in public buildings is prohibited; this rule sometimes extends to outdoor patios and establishments, too. Be aware of signs posted to notify you that you are in a nonsmoking environment. Generally, if you are outdoors and there are no ashtrays, it is safe to assume that it is a non-smoking area.

In states that allow smoking in restaurants, the establishment will likely have a smoking section. You can request a seat there, and it is acceptable to smoke freely there so long as you are not a nuisance to fellow diners. Most people who dine in the smoking section of a restaurant will have one to two cigarettes. Always use an ashtray to ash your cigarette.

When smoking on the outdoor patio of a restaurant ask your waiter for an ashtray if you do not have one on your table. Smoking on a restaurant patio is different in that you do not know if any of the other diners are smokers. Keep in mind that it is bad manners to blow your cigarette smoke toward other diners and to ash on the ground. The Office of the Surgeon General states that there’s no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and if you breathe even a little secondhand smoke it can be extremely harmful to you. It is important not to smoke around babies and children or pregnant women. Keep in mind that cigarette smoke can irritate conditions such as asthma and allergies. Most establishments require that you smoke far enough away from the entrance that smoke does not enter the restaurant.

According to The Lady Smokes, it is proper smoking etiquette to ask any other smokers if they would like to join you when you excuse yourself to have a cigarette. When you finish, never drop and stomp your cigarette. If there is no ashtray, be sure your cigarette is out and dispose of it in a trash can.