great suggestions above - one thing you can do to help is to pre-warm OR pre-burn your wood, depending on what yu're going for. i've learned to stick a chunk (un-soaked) in the far end of the charcoal basket away from the fire. as it gets hot, it gets closer and closer to burning temperature without releasing the nasty, billowing white smoke. that kind of smoke is simply from wood that isn't up to temperature yet, in my experience.
by prewarming as i describe above or another method, OR pre-burning wood down to coals in a separate chimney, brazier, hibachi etc., you can eliminate the nasty stuff and get straight to the good stuff, the sweet, oh-so-good stuff which is thin and blue, or barely visible at all - some of the best smells i've had from wood are when i see no smoke at all, but you can definitely smell it.
having said all the above, this is still smoking we're talking about. you can caount on some white smoke, but when you get too much billowing smoke for too long, then you'd better put the beer down and open up your intake or the door of your firebox, let it burn off and then close it again when the wood has reached temperature.
side note: some flks actually have mounted chimneys or smokestacks on their fireboxes, then when they add wood they can open up this secondary exhaust and ket the white smoke escape there until it is gone, then close the chimney and have the TBS float into the smoking chamber.