Smoking Rooms

Arun Vajpey

Jul 8, 1999
Were women allowed in any of the 3 smoking rooms? And if they were, is there a possibility that any of them had a puff? I did not think that in 1912 there were any women who dared smoke in public except perhaps those of a certain "profession".

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
As far as I recall, the only reference to smoking in the passengers' guide was a polite request (not an order) that nobody should smoke in the dining rooms. The smoking rooms were of course intended for men and the reading and writing room for women, but there were no hard and fast rules governing this segregation - it was rather a matter of social etiquette than of official regulations. So would a woman be ejected from a smoking room? I very much doubt it, but the male clientele would probably do nothing to make her feel welcome.

By 1912, incidentally, it was no longer illegal for women to smoke in public and many respectable hotels provided a (separate) smoking room for women as well as the more traditional smoke room for men. But in its advertising the tobacco industry didn't make any serious effort to target the female smoker until the 1920s.

Bruce Harwood

Sep 2, 2008
Vancouver Canada
I'm curious about smoking regulations as well. In earlier days, smoking was strictly limited to the smoking room because of the ever present risk of fire. I sailed on one ship where this rule was very strictly enforced. It was on a Windjammer sailing ship which had an entirely wooden interior. If you were caught smoking below decks, you were evicted at the next port, no exceptions. And that was the rule on all ships well into the days of steamer traffic. The notion that one could smoke anywhere at any time is something that evolved over time, but I don't know when ash trays being provided throughout the passenger areas became a common practice.

As for 'the ladies', you could refer to the operetta "The Secret of Suzanne" by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. It gives a comic take on exactly this subject at the time. Daring ladies might smoke in a lounge or in the Cafe Parisien and, since it was First Class, would expect the crew to accommodate their need for an ash tray.