I just finished a good book recently: "Hackers" by Steven Levy. In it I discovered that it's wholly traditional for programmers not only to avoid smoking but also to kick up a fuss when someone starts smoking near them.
This rather surprised me when I read it, as the book started from the early 60s back when the dangers of smoking weren't really acknowleged and smoking was considered cool.
What surprised me more was my shock a few days later when a fellow geek lit up upon getting outside after a user group meeting. I was shocked because I've been going to this user group for years now and we always go to the pub after the meeting. We also always go to the least smokey area and noone smokes at the table.
This geek, new to this user group, was violating a rule noone's ever mentioned.
I wasn't actually going into the pub that night, so I didn't complain and don't know whether he stayed outside to finish his cigarette (since smoking in pubs is still allowed in Victoria, this is probably unlikely). I presume he was kind enough to finish it away from the dinner table.
But it got me thinking. I can count on one hand the number of people I typically associate with who smoke (as far as I know). Of people I see more often than once a fortnight the number is 0.
I'm not anti-social. I have a very large social group, most of whom are role-players and/or IT geeks and/or Choristers and barely any of them smoke. I was at a wedding recently, and at the reception there was a fire-twirling demonstration outside. Of the 150 or so of us watching noone lit up, even though we'd previously all been inside for the last 3 hours.
The same seems to hold true when I go to other cities and associate with other geeks. The small (8-10 attendees) at the Sydney Perl Mongers meeting I visited in March this year appeared to have no smokers. The cigarettes appeared few and far between at the SAGE-AU conference last year too.
It's almost certainly got a little to do with Australia's active campaign to reduce the number of smokers. This campaign has resulted in disallowing smoking in all Victorian (and a few other states') restaurants and cafes, sports bars, casinos and gaming lounges. It's so much better to not have to step outside of the restaurant for a chance to breathe!
But it would appear from the book, that there might be something else to it too. Perhaps there's something in the wiring of geeks (in general) that makes them uninterested in the effects of nicotine? Or maybe it's just a cooincidence.