One in five Americans smoke. Where the hell are they? And it would appear that Mad Men gets it very wrong when it comes to smoking.

The 2009 figures on smoking were reported recently in USA Today. image

I looked at the statistics and thought:

One in five Americans smoke? Who the hell is smoking anymore?

I am blessed with a large circle of friends, and thanks to my wife, an even wider circle of quasi-friends and acquaintances.

You cannot imagine the number of people to whom she introduces to me on an weekly basis. It’s a never-ending turnstile of new faces.

And yet I cannot think of a single friend or acquaintance who smokes.

Not one.

So what is going on here?

Has smoking become a regional addiction, or is there a purposeful segregation taking place between the smokers and the nonsmokers?

Are there equally wide circles of friends and acquaintances in which the majority of their members smoke?

And why in hell are kids still smoking in high school? Forget the health implications. Hasn’t the cost, the smell and social stigma of smoking served as deterrent enough?

Hasn’t smoking reached the level of uncool?

Are kids in my local Connecticut high school smoking in such large numbers, or is this once again a regional trend?

I find every one of these statistics baffling in some way.

Even the 1965 statistics on smoking.

The 1965 figures are quite interesting in light of Mad Men, the television series that Elysha and I have begun watching. The first season of the show takes place in 1960, and every single character on the show smokes.


Yet the statistics indicate that in 1965, less than half of all Americans were smokers.

What is going on here?

For a television show that has received much acclaim for its accurate portrayal of 1960’s America, it’s apparently inaccurate obsession with smoking would seem like a serious flaw.

A set piece taken to an unfortunately inaccurate extreme.

Thoughts anyone?

And more important, are any of my readers smokers?