regardless of the fuel you use I find that the real trick is to really get the fire started right near the bottom of the smoker- before packing a LOT of material heavily down onto the embers. You really want the fire near the bottom and lot of material to cool and filter the smoke of sparks before it comes out. It is vital to check that the smoke come out cool as hot smoke will anger the bees and is a fire hazard. I use a big wad of hessian packed down on top of the burning material.
I find hessian is an excellent smoker fuel. I just burn some paper above a small amount of material in the bottom of the smoker and really pump it until there is a very strong flame- then I slowly add a little material pumping all the while before packing it all down with that hessian wad. If you periodically pump it it rarely goes out.
Afterwards I often shove newspaper into the spout and air vent hole at the bottom and place the smoker on it’s side so that it goes out.