I can't say that I completely agree with the oft-stated claim that social interactions are an invalid reason to start or continue using tobacco. In fact, I disagree. Smoking, especially in today's smoker-unfriendly world, places the smoker in a situation highly conducive to socializing. With a common bond, especially one that separates you from "the rest" of society, starting a conversation is that much easier. Having a smoke is a form of taking a break -- if you're on R&R time anyway, why not strike up a conversation? You know you're probably not interrupting a smoker from anything important by saying hi. It's also worth noting, as Tlogmer mentioned to me, that nicotine decreases anxiety, which makes it that much easier to start chatting up a stranger.

It isn't so much that smokers won't be your friend if you don't also smoke. It isn't even that you won't meet them, or other people, if you don't smoke. It's just *easier* to meet *more people* if you do smoke. It's a group activity, just like going to the pub or playing on a sports team. Humans are pack animals.

I don't mean to encourage smoking. It's a dirty, expensive, unhealthy habit, and kissing a smoker really is like licking an ashtray. But it is not an activity completely devoid of value or pleasure. If it were, nobody would end up with an addiction in the first place, right?