Smoking and Drinking with People Who Don’t Smoke or Drink


At various times of the year, you’re likely to visit people who you’re not around very often. You might be going to see family, old friends or people you knew earlier in life. If you enjoy smoking or drinking, it can be difficult to know how to behave around these people. Do you smoke openly and freely? Do you have a couple of drinks with dinner or a glass of wine by the pool? This can be a concern if you happen to know for sure that these folks don’t use either substance. Fortunately, there are easy ways to figure out how to your friends/family feel about the subject and to be able to be yourself all the same.

1) Just Ask. If you’re worried about someone’s comfort level with alcohol or tobacco smoke, just ask. In most cases, your friends or relatives won’t mind you being yourself while you’re with them, and the case may be a non-issue. If there are issues (second hand smoke around children, personal preferences), be courteous. Don’t let yourself be shut down though. Make a compromise that everyone can work with.

2) Share the Wealth! In many cases, just because someone isn’t a smoker or drinker doesn’t mean they have some hard-and-fast, principled stance against the practices. If you’re on vacation or some kind of other holiday with these people, why not share a drink or a couple of your cigars? People who don’t routinely smoke or drink often REALLY enjoy doing it once in awhile, especially with people they like spending time with. If you find this to be the case, you can bring extra enjoyment to the group just by being around and doing your thing. Share the wealth!

3) Show Them How It’s Done. Sometimes people who enjoy smoking or drinking come from families who have no history or either pastime. If this sounds like your family, it can be a great opportunity for you to help “demystify” both activities. Your glass of wine at dinner can show them that drinking is a healthy part of some people’s lives, not something to be avoided or feared. You may not convert anyone (don’t let that be your motivation), but acting like a responsible, healthy adult with your alcohol or tobacco product can be a refreshing and educational thing for people not in the know.

4) Be Courteous. If someone in your group has an issue with smoke or has had bad experiences with alcohol in the past, respect those people. Don’t hide yourself away, but make sure you make room for their disposition so they feel comfortable in the group just as you do. Sometimes no perfect compromise can be made, but do your best to make it happen.

When we spend days around people we love during holidays or other events, personal practices like smoking and drinking can overlap with those people who avoid both. It’s possible to act as you please without stepping on anybody’s toes. Sometimes you can know how to behave simply by using common sense. In other cases, the above steps can help you out a lot.