Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Victorian Vices: Smoking

Mr. Samuel Longhorn Clemens enjoying a cigar

Victorian culture had intriguing differences as compared to the 21st century, and such I will be outlining some of the notable differences... starting with smoking!


There were no laws against tobacco use in the 19th century, not even for schoolchildren. But, at least in the middle and upper classes, there was a strict etiquette for smokers.

It was understood that some people might find smoking offensive. One did not smoke in the presence of one's superiors, unless invited to do so. Ladies outranked gentlemen and often found smoking repulsive, so after dinner, gentlemen went into a separate room for brandy and cigars. The smoking jacket was intended to keep the smell of tobacco off one's regular clothing. The question"shall we join the ladies?" was a signal to leave the smoking room.

Under less formal circumstances, one might ask permission to smoke, especially of one's equals. In environments where ladies were not expected to be present, including bars and many businesses, men might smoke freely (barmaids didn't count as ladies - they were servants).

Women were not suppose to smoke at all, although some did - normally in private, to avoid getting a bad reputation!

Stoddard, W.H. (2000) - Gurps Steampunk, pgs. 27, SJG:Austin
[edited for removal of game specific content]

If a gentleman is interested in a sl smoking jacket, Mr. Pearse (propriator of "Pearce'd and Cut") offers a smart smoking jacket ensamble (Jacket, Belt, & Smoking Cap). Located in Victoria City.

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