We were able to buy coal some years back and used it in the home fireplace instead of wood. You only get the smoke and smell for about 10 minutes every time you first light the fire and for just a few minutes when you put more coal on the already burning fire. It came in useful several winters when we had power outages lasting a day or two.
I personally find the continual smoke from wood fires to be a lot more annoying than the short time a coal fire smokes. Also, with coal, you're not having to continually rearrange the fuel to keep it burning. I have't tried to find any coal in the 14 years we've been in Anacortes, as we have a gas-log fireplace in this house, with a furnace-style vent in place of a "real" chimney.
At $1 a log from the camp hosts, we don't have a campfire very often.
Frank and Eileen
No longer RVers or FR owners