Before starting this piece, I want to be very outspoken about cigarettes. They suck. They're extremely unhealthy and smoking is a horrible habit to encourage.
With that being said, we are human beings, and as a consequence, we tend to gravitate toward the things that hurt us the most.
This is why, regardless of all advice insisting otherwise, we still eat fast food until we're obese, spend money until we're broke, and get drunk until we inevitably text the women who have once broken our hearts. Cigarettes are no different.
Thus, I reiterate – they suck – but if you're going to smoke them anyway, you might as well smoke them correctly.
Like anything else in life, there is, indeed, a proper way to smoke cigarettes. There's an etiquette, a code, one that all seasoned smokers will follow, and tends to go over the head of the less frequent, social, smokers.
If you find yourself engaging in this risky behavior when drunk, stressed during the workday, or just trying to look cooler – I've compiled the 10 commandments every social smoker should abide by, before lighting up that fag.
DISCLAIMER: I strongly, strongly suggest quitting though. I'm serious.
1. Only buy packs on Friday
If you’re going to be a social smoker, you should only be buying cigarettes once a week – on Friday – the official beginning of the brief social window (known better as “the weekend").
You really shouldn’t be smoking during the rest of the week because, if you’re chuffing down cigarettes outside your office on a Tuesday (cue ILoveMakonnen voice), well, then – you’re not a social smoker – you’re just a regular old smoker, smoker.
2. If you have a pack, share your pack.
They say “what goes around comes around,” and cigarettes are no exception. There’s a whole karmic aspect of social cigarette smoking that you should keep in mind, so, if you’ve got ‘em, give ‘em.
Whenever you find yourself with a fresh pack of cigarettes, think back to some time when you didn’t, and let that humble you. You know damn well that when the tables are turned, you’ll hope someone else returns the gesture.
3. If you need to bum one, always offer a dollar...
You've got to offer the dollar. It shows you mean business and you’re not just stumbling around, wandering from paying smoker to paying smoker, looking for a handout. You're not in Costco, all right? Other people's packs aren't free samples of some soy burger.
People spend their hard-earned money on packs of cigarettes, the least you can do is acknowledge that and, at the very least, offer. Just make sure it's one dollar.
Anything more will make you seem like you think you're better than him or her, and anything less will make you look like a f*cking bum. Which is ironic because, yeah, I guess you are bumming a cig.
OK, poor choice of words. That's on me.
4. But when someone offers you a dollar, never accept it.
Having said that – when you’re on the other side of things – of course, you don’t accept the dollar! Are you kidding me?
Accepting that dollar for a f*cking cigarette is like cashing in on the emptiest gesture mankind can propose. Not to mention it’s super illegal to accept money in return for a cigarette.
Nothing beats when a super important looking dude smoking a cig pockets that crinkled dollar in exchange for, like, an American Spirit Natural (gasp).
Unless you’re in desperate need of a gumball or, I don't know, a newspaper – the classy move is to turn down any monetary compensation.
Like, it’s a f*cking dollar, man.
5. Don't be picky about brands.
When you’re smoking socially (and don’t have a pack of your own) you’re going to have to make due with what resources are available to you. They say beggars can't be choosers, heh? Well, moochers can't be choosers, either.
If you ask a stranger to lend you a cigarette and he or she complies – only to pull out that dreaded teal pack of Newports – well, I fear you’ve already come too far to turn them down... regardless of whether or not you think that one cig will cut a few weeks off your lifespan.
Nothing is more insulting than asking someone for a cigarette, simply to end up scoffing at the gesture of kindness.
6. Friends don't let friends take smoke breaks alone.
If you’re a social smoker in the work environment, it’s important to coordinate your breaks with your fellow smoker coworkers. Nobody wants to stand outside the office alone, smoking a cigarette down to the filter. That just feels depraved.
Sure, you might not want a cigarette at the moment, that's completely understandable. Don't be selfish, though. As a smoker, and member of the hypothetical social smoker club, there will come a time you'll be forced to take one for the team, so to speak.
7. Always light cigarettes for others.
One of the classiest moves you can pull when socially smoking cigarettes, is lighting up someone else's for them. It's very European, man; it's cool.
Remember that scene of the Godfather where Michael (Pacino) has to light Enzo's cigarette for him – with that excellent Zippo lighter – because Enzo's too shook to do it himself? Yeah, see what I'm saying, Pacino looked f*cking iconic. And so will you!
Realistically, it's a gesture that takes minimal effort, yet goes a long way, people. Just make sure to make some eye contact beforehand, or give a little nod, prior to shoving an open flame in someone's face as – I'm sure you could tell – that could be a bit startling.
8. If you say "this is my last cigarette," always show proof.
There’s nothing worse than asking someone for an extra – after watching that person shove a full pack in his or her pocket, mind you – only to get told, “Sorry, it's my last one.”
Like, are you f*cking kidding me? I physically saw nine or 10 stoges chillin' in the pack. Like, did they vanish??? Or were you just planning on stuffing the rest of 'em in your mouth like this picture of Sid Caesar, next smoke break?
Thus, if someone asks you for an extra – and you TRUTHFULLY don’t have any more – always go the extra mile and flash your empty pack, you know, for validity purposes.
This will show that you’re not a heartless chump who’s too good to spare a cigarette or at the least come up with a decent excuse why not.
9. Always make small talk when bumming a smoke.
If someone is nice enough to lend you a spare smoke, the least you can do is reciprocate with a period of brief small talk. It doesn’t have to be intrusive.
You don’t need to ask him where he we grew up, or what his dreams and aspirations are for the future, either. That's annoying. Nobody wants that.
But, do say something, however, as this short conversational exchange will create the illusion that you’re not solely using this man for his cigarettes (which you are). Still, use your intuition before jumping right into any dialog.
If the people you’re approaching look like they want nothing to do with you, just shoot them a smile and be on your way.
Mind you, if they’re wearing headphones, this is always a reliable cue to bypass any stop and chat and just puff your newly blessed cigarette in peace and solitude.
10. There's no gender discrimination when lending out cigs.
If you have cigarettes, be a mensch and make sure you don’t gender discriminate who you lend them out. This isn’t the front door of a nightclub, OK, you aren’t a bouncer.
If you’re a dude, don’t just lend out cigs to pretty women as if one of these chicks is going to magically want to date you or fornicate with you, after falling head over heels for your supreme generosity.
That sh*t never happens. If it were that simple, I’d park my ass outside Kate Moss’ house with a few extra packs, just so I could flag her down in the driveway whenever she was in need of a smoke. But, like I said, that sh*t never happens.