Smoking & drinking de rigueur; smoking & eating faux pas?

Always wondered about this and I don’t know if there’s a factual answer but back in the days when/where it was legal, smoking and drinking in a bar seemed not merely acceptable but even encouraged. However, smoking while people—including one’s self—were eating was/is taboo. Always seemed odd to me.

I used to do it, but only because it was the only way to scarf down my lunch and my cigarette and get back to work in under 30 minutes (and not smell like smoke). People don’t usually do it because it doesn’t taste that good. A cigarette after a meal tastes great, smoking while you’re eating, not so much.

But wouldn’t that also apply to smoking while drinking? As in, make whatever you’re drinking not taste too great?

Not really, no. Smoking involves drawing, well, hot smoke through your mouth. That tends to dry it out and makes eating unpleasant. That doesn’t apply to drinks.

People used to smoke during meals as far as I could remember. However, since you generally needed both hands to hold your knife and fork, people would usually put out their cigarettes when the main course was served.

This is a question, not an answer: weren’t these rules somewhat to do with arcane conventions? Like, you could smoke between the main course and dessert, but not between starter and main.

It’s not so much the drinking*, it’s the alcohol and the social atmosphere. Smoking goes well with talking and alcohol. But yeah, the combination of the dry smoke and the (wet) drink is nice.

*That is, if you put the same group of people at a regular bar and a ‘juice bar’ (or just have them stand around with water) and having them drink the same amount of liquid, they’re probably going to smoke more at the regular bar.

People smoked and ate all the time. Until just a few years ago the good breakfast diner in town was always full of little old ladies smoking, drinking coffee, and eating. If the diner hadn’t gone smoke free I bet it would be the same today.