fantastic dealer of wounds (smirnoffmule) wrote in little_details,
fantastic dealer of wounds

Lighting and Smoking Cigarettes in 1940s England

My story is set in Portsmouth, England, 1942, at a military hospital (Royal Hospital Halsar, to be exact). Two characters are sitting in the waiting room, and strike up conversation. One then offers the other a cigarette. Both are soldiers; one of them is British, and the other is a Canadian who's been stationed in the UK since the outbreak of war in '39.

First question: How widespread was the use of automatic cigarette lighters in this period? Is it plausible one or both of my characters would own one? I've googled "Cigarette lighters history" and "cigarettes world war two" and I've learned from wikipedia that lighters were freely distributed to American troops in this era, but it's my understanding British pockets were pinched by the war and rationing to a much greater degree at this point. I'd rather have a lighter than matches if it's plausible, though it doesn't really matter - I just want to get it right. It may seem like a really really little detail, but it's kind of a moment and I can't fudge over it.

The second question concerns whether or not they would actually be allowed to smoke in a hospital waiting room in the 40s. I have a hunch they actually might, or that there might be designated smoking room they could choose to sit in, but can't for the life of me find anything to confirm or deny this. Any ideas?
Tags: 1940-1949, uk: health care and hospitals, uk: history: world war ii, ~cigarettes

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