Do you know anyone who smokes?

As Connecticut debates a ban on smoking in cars with children, The Daily Beast offers a list of establishments where smoking is still permitted.

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.

Not one.

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.