by James Leavey, editor, The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London and The FOREST Guide to Smoking in Scotland

  1. Give them time.
  2. Give them space.
  3. Give them enough rope.
  4. Make time to talk to them, if you can stand it.
  5. Maintain eye contact. For some minorities, such as the Ku Klux Klan and ASH, this is not appropriate, because lack of eye contact is – for them – a mark of respect.
  6. Don’t pretend to understand if you have not. Suggest they also adopt this attitude.
  7. Ask them to repeat what they’re saying in another way, i.e. with a bit of thought behind it.
  8. Don’t let them finish the sentence for you. And vice versa.
  9. Don’t walk away while they’re talking, but do keep on smoking.
  10. Be encouraging and offer the opportunity to talk sensibly.
  11. Talk normally.
  12. Listen carefully, even if they don’t.
  13. Use short sentences and stress key words such as ‘tolerance’, ‘freedom’, ‘rights’, and ‘givemeabreakwhydontya’.
  14. Use body language and facial expression – the old tongue out and extension of the middle finger works well, but only if you use it sparingly.
  15. Vary the tone of your voice, even if they can’t. Don’t shout. Let your tolerance of these sad individuals speak for itself.
  16. If necessary, get help from a speech and language therapist. Or even better, encourage them to visit one sooner rather than later.
  17. Suggest you eat a meal together and talk. Ensure you book a table in a smoker-friendly restaurant, then wait until the end of the meal before lighting up. If you live in California, take a gourmet holiday to somewhere that is not run by 21st century puritans.
  18. Stress can be heard in your voice, relax with a smoke.
  19. Face the person you are talking to – this may be inappropriate for some minorities who may prefer you sit side on when talking with them. They may even prefer you sit in another room. In that case, phone them on their mobile.
  20. Don’t embarrass them by making them join a group if they don’t want to.
  21. A speech aid may help. With this in mind, show them a copy of Murder a Cigarette by Lord Harris and Judith Hatton, The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London or The FOREST Smokers’ Guide to Scotland – especially the chapter on good manners and smoking.
  22. Don’t give complex answers to stupid questions.
  23. Don’t ask their carer to speak for them.
  24. Finally, if you run out of something to say, check out the FORCES International website on a regular basis.

© Copyright James Leavey, 2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the Author.