In the societies I am familiar with, there is a wide range of variation in the acceptability of this practice. In the UK, only beggars and vagrants (or your mates) will attempt to bum a fag off you - which seems a bit more restricted than the reports above suggest it is in the USA - but in Italy it is a perfectly acceptable practice in even fairly polite company, with its very own verb, scrocciare (Scusi, signora, ma sarebbe possibile scrocciare una sigaretta? ... ah, grazie).

When I was first a student, I could judge the affluence of the group I was with using a communal property ownership hierarchy: this descended from the level where a quarter of dope (or a bottle of Scotch, perhaps) was deemed to be for group consumption - quite common - to a level where a packet of cigarettes was communal - getting towards the end of term, a long time after the grant cheques came through - and on to the point of real desperation, where a box of matches became a group purchase.