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  • First, don't generalize : saying that geeks don't smoke is like saying that geeks like guns, or are libertarian, etc.

    Secondly, I've maybe an idea about the low percentage of smoker geeks : smoking is typically a social skill, acquired during social events, parties and so on; things that self-called geeks maybe tend to attend less, preferring smaller focused groups or computer hacking. (Trying to avoid generalization as well...)

    • I didn't really mean to say that geeks don't smoke. Even though it's not mentioned in Hackers, I'm sure that there were MIT hackers who smoked away from MIT. I am very aware that there are geeks who smoke, I just don't know many.

      What I was marvelling at really is that most of the geeks I come in contact with (in Australia) don't smoke. Geeks who do (in my (Australian) experience) are few and far between. This is wonderful for me as it means that I hardly ever encounter cigarette smoke.

      You're probably right about smoking being partly a social skill, however very few of my friends (most who self-identify as geeks) fit the unsocialised geek stereotype. We have great parties (although usually low-alcohol or alcohol-free (it just happens that way)), go out to dinners often and do other things together. Of course our dinner and party conversations can get rather boring to any non-geek visitors as we talk about everything from quantum physics to chaos theory to the latest MMORPG. What we don't do very often is have communal hacking sessions.

      The preference for my friends and associates not to smoke almost certainly has a large cultural component. Just as liking guns has a cultural component in other countries. I'd be surprised if the Australian geeks I know had a markedly different range of views on guns than the rest of the Australian population. I think the same might be said about govermental preferences.