DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a smoker, despite being well aware that smoking is a harmful, vulgar and a useless activity in which to engage (but feel free to admonish anyway).
Mind you, I am also well aware of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, and as such, I never smoke indoors (including bars), except in my own apartment. If I'm waiting for a bus outside and there are others waiting at my bus stop, I make it a point to stand a few feet away and downwind. I feel as if I do all that is possible to keep the negative consequences of my smoking to myself. However, I do solicit your judgment on style for the following:
Is there a proper way to dispose of cigarette butts outdoors provided no appropriate receptacle has been made available?
I cringe when people litter, but I don't feel like I'm committing a crime as long as I ensure that the unused remains of my cigarette land in the gutter (not the sidewalk), and I don't smoke if a gutter is unavailable (for instance, at the beach). The alternative would be to stub out the cigarette and carry it until I reach the next public trash can, and my concern there is the potential for a fire.
The other concern is hosting. When I host parties in my home, most of my guests are smokers, but not all. I always clearly designate (and enforce) a non-smoking room.
Is this enough? For small, informal gatherings with close friends (who are obviously aware that I smoke), for instance, where all guests will be present in the same room, I feel that it is OK to smoke in the room provided there is some source of ventilation and nobody is eating or has voiced a prior objection.
I try to position myself closest in proximity to a window or doorway so I can blow the smoke away from the center of the room, and if there are multiple smokers I make sure a window is open at least a crack, even in winter.
Beyond that, is there anything else I can do? I feel that if I am having a close friend or two over, they can deal with a little cigarette smoke, the same way I'd have to deal with going outside to smoke if I was at their place, and if they did not want to be around smoke, they could politely decline the invitation or let me know that they were uncomfortable around cigarette smoke. I'm talking about people who I've already had over, where I've asked each guest if they minded if I smoked, and they've all responded in the negative -- do I have to keep asking if they mind each time after?
GENTLE READER: No, but you have to pick up the cigarette butts.
Miss Manners hates to make this request, because you seem to be trying hard to be considerate of non-smokers, and because non-smokers do not usually return the favor. That you even invited Miss Manners to admonish you tells her that you have come to expect being browbeaten.
All the same, cigarette butts are unsightly, and should not be left around public spaces.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it acceptable for people who have seen a current movie with a surprise ending to discuss that movie among themselves, including the ending, in a public place within hearing range of others who may or may not have already seen the movie?
GENTLE READER: No, but it is also unacceptable to eavesdrop on other people's conversations. So Miss Manners would call this a draw.