Don’t Chew Gum in Public

Surprise! Surprise! I agree with the Chinese…on gum chewing in public. Last week, the President’s gum chewing faux pas seemed to be the most important news story of the week, and while I don’t agree that this is an international incident or even a top news story, I do agree that chewing gum in public is unacceptable.

A few years ago, I sat near the back of the auditorium during the regional science fair awards unable to concentrate on anything except one of the presenters chewing gum on stage. I’ve complained about people chewing gum in church, at graduations, and while making presentations. I thought this was just a personal pet peeve, but with last week’s controversy, I realized I’m not alone.

Emily Post, Miss Manners, and other etiquette gurus have weighed in on public gum chewing and its acceptance.


So when should you NOT chew gum?

  • when making a presentation
  • when singing in public
  • on a job interview
  • when sitting on a stage
  • during an awards ceremony
  • when a member of a wedding party
  • during a staff meeting
  • when meeting with world leaders

I know there are some good reasons to chew gum.  Not only can gum chewing be a good alternative for smokers, but chewing gum for a few minutes in the afternoon helps some people ward off cravings for sweets or other foods that sabotage dieting success. If you can chew quietly on an airplane, gum can make take offs and landings more comfortable. And of course, a little gum after eating garlic knots for lunch is a good idea.

Learn from the President’s mistake, don’t chew gum in public.