Just like in all things you would imagine, there is an etiquette for cigarette holders too! How does a modern vintage/pinup woman deal with the urges when the pipes are packed and the tobacco is lit?
Prior to the 1950’s the act of merely smoking around a woman was considered dirty and ungentlemanly. It wasn’t so much as a law, but anti-smoking propaganda driven by social acceptance. Women simply did not smoke and men did not smoke around then, but would rather retreat into the parlor, adorn their smoking jackets and be with their kind in a fashion that most suited them. Somewhere around the mid-late 20’s though women began exercising their equality and tobacco companies appealed to their vanity, advertising cigarettes as a means to stay slim and youthful. Thus the fragile, smoke free image of a woman made way for the growing socially accepted smoker. By the time the 60’s did hit new tobacco companies were popping up everywhere and aiming to sell to women. It was also around this time where the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps began conducting and pushing publication of studies to show the hazards of smoking. Even still, it held strong as an upper class social feature and thus acquired its own unwritten book of etiquette. So shall we?
Cocktail Length below 4 inches, for any occasion.
Dinner Length 4-6 inches, during semi-formal and formal gatherings.
Theatre Length 10-14 inches, for more formal occasions and the theatre.
Opera Length 16-20 inches, while at the opera or another prestigious event.
Men also had cigarette holders that were less than 4 inches and are sometimes still used today, especially for cigar smokers.
When a lady takes out a cigarette the man should light it for her. She should meet him halfway to his reach and graciously accept his light. She should not, however, expect her cigarette to be lit. Most people do not adhere to these etiquette’s today so if you are not around like minded people, do not be offended, and bring out your own lighter. If someone offers to light it for you once yours is out, the lady like thing to do would be to put your lighter down and accept the offer. Ladies do not need to light other ladies’ cigarettes, in this case they would light their own and the lighter might be passed around.
Additionally the smoking lady should be aware and considerate of the nonsmokers in her vicinity. There is no need to be apologetic, just simply be aware of their presence, where the wind is blowing, and your distance from them–or better to refrain completely until they are not in your company. It would be far more rude to leave your guests after all. If they do not mind you smoking be aware of the nonsmokers not in your circle, i.e. the general public, and consider if conditions are appropriate where your smoking will not bother them. If children are present, don’t even bother.
When you are in the right conditions to smoke it is polite to offer a cigarette to your company, but this is more so the polite duties of a man. However it would not be horrible if a lady did or did not offer her own cigarettes. Remember, the etiquette’s of smoking are a lot consideration for those around you with a little romanticism and subtle seduction. Have a nice lighter, a silver cigarette case, and your cocktail length holder on hand. Place your cigarette in the end of your holder and then light it. When you are done, put the holder back in its place (via your case if it fits).
Remember, at the end of the day smoking is unhealthy and a bad habit. Enjoying in moderation is the very least one can do for their health if not avoid cigarettes and cigars completely.