You are very likely to be offered cigarettes by your Chinese friends or associates on a daily basis. In China, cigarettes have an extra value of improving social and business relations. Deals can be sealed with a handshake and a pack of cigarettes. The give-and-take of cigarettes represents a kind of semaphore. Declining a cigarette can be taken as an insult. The person might be embarrassed and lose face. As for non-smokers, just tell people politely that you don’t smoke. If they insist on it, you can take the cigarette and put it behind your ear.
Feb 17, 2014