Chinese view offering cigarettes to strangers they are talking to as normal. It’s a conversation lubricant between strangers. When you hang out with acquaintances, it is impolite if you start smoking without offering one to the others. It’s all about cigarette etiquette.
China has its own unique cigarette culture. We barely see people serving cigarettes to each other in European countries or the US. They only share a cigarette when they want to ease the nerves on a battlefield and bond as the brothers. Serving cigarettes happens more often in China.
Serving a cigarette is good manners. When we meet our boss, we serve a cigarette to him to show our respect. When we talk to somebody, we offer a cigarette as a peace offering, which will build trust observably.
Read more at China Daily