I’m frankly stunned that any of these places still exist.
I’m even more surprised that young people continue to start such an expensive, destructive and stigmatizing habit.
I know a lot of people. I am blessed with many friends.
I don’t know a single person who smokes.
I see smokers all the time, standing outside buildings, sitting on park benches and walking the golf course, but I can’t think of anyone who I know personally who smokes.
This leads me to wonder:
Has there been a self-imposed segregation of smokers and nonsmokers in this country?
Less than 20% of Americans smoke. Has this ever-shrinking percentage of the population hunkered down into tiny smoking enclaves? Have they formed small tribes of nicotine-stained addicts who isolate themselves from the general population when it comes to social interaction? Is there any social circle in America that contains a true blend of smokers and nonsmokers?
Or am I simply an outlier? Is it strange that I don’t know any smokers on a personal level?
Odds would seem to indicate that better than 1 in 6 of the people who I know are smokers, but if you asked me to find three people whose names I know who also smoke, I don’t think I could find more than one.
Is this normal?
More importantly, what does it say about the socially isolating nature of smoking?
If I want to convince a teenager not to smoke, should I focus on the health risks, or should I simply explain that smoking reduces the potential of your social circle by more than 80%?
For a teenager, a reduction of that size in potential friends and dates might actually seem more menacing.