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20-40-60 Etiquette: Clear the air when it comes to smoking

Our etiquette panel helps a reader who doesn't want guests smoking around the house. [Metro Creative Connection]
Our etiquette panel helps a reader who doesn't want guests smoking around the house. [Metro Creative Connection]

QUESTION: Is it bad manners to warn party guests ahead of time that I do not permit smoking in and around my house? Should I tell them when they arrive?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Who still smokes nowadays? I think that is perfectly fine! I would say it if you know smokers are coming to your house.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: If you know you have a smoker coming to your house, I think it's OK to speak up. Some people cannot tolerate exposure to any smoke due to respiratory issues like asthma, so keeping smoke away from your house protects both your home and the health of your guests. I think smokers understand this, too. So speak up nicely and tell your guests ahead of time.

HELEN'S ANSWER: People are very sensitive about their smoking. They disappear from parties to go outside, and I have not seen anyone smoking indoors lately. I do think they need to be aware of your preferences ahead of time, so they can decide whether they can adhere to the rules.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Brandon Bixler, commercial lending officer/NBC Oklahoma: No, it would be bad manners to only warn party guests smoking is not permitted once they arrive. I have hosted two large parties this year and while my friends don't smoke, I would be sure to discuss the subject individually if I knew a guest had a preference of smoking.

While smoking cigarettes has gone down in popularity, using e-cigarettes or vaping has been growing in popularity. Also, with the increasing acceptance of marijuana in society, party hosts may need to be aware of setting ground rules before the party begins. I would also be sensitive to my neighbors especially in neighborhoods where houses are closely built. Smoking may not be a hindrance to your group, but your neighbors may have toddlers or small children and would not be in favor of smoking around their property.

Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email