Those red plastic cups in film and TV have always interested me. How much do people drink in the States, especially beer? What is an acceptable ammount to drink at a social occasion? I've thrown parties where a couple of bottles of wine each and then lots of beers are okay, but I get the feeling American drinking is more conservative. Also, how many cigarettes do you smoke, are you chaining twenty or thirty whilst drinking as we do in London, or is smoking a despicable thing?
Thank you for the cultural insight in advance.
It all depends on the people you're socializing with. Liquor is generally excepted among all of our society, while cigarettes are fairly taboo.
I'd say we are more conservative drinkers. You have to remember are laws are a lot stricter. Drinking is completely illegal in public, so much so that if you go for a picnic it's illegal to bring a bottle of wine (technically, you'd probably be fine though). I'd say that after you hit your fifth or sixth beer people start to look at you funny. It really depends on who you're drinking with and how well you can hold your liquor. If you're drinking with good friends it doesn't matter, but if you're out with some girl you just met, especially if you're out in public at a bar or restaurant opposed to a house party of some sort, it starts to look bad. For reference, I'm twenty. Technically, I'm not even legally allowed to drink. I'd say most kids start drinking during their later years of high school. Also, it really depends a lot on your environment. I'm in college and kids drink a fair amount more at frat parties, but from my experience less than you'd expect.
I quit smoking, but twenty or thirty cigarettes a night seems like a hell of a lot to me. At most I'd smoke half a pack on nights that I drank and I used to get a lot of shit for it. It really depends on the people you're with. I find that a lot of people I know who do smoke are very very moderate smokers, a pack a week.
I hope this helps. I'd love to hear more about how drinking and smoking is viewed in London if you have a chance.