I don't think that cruise ships will ever go completely non-smoking as long as it's legal (and not only in the US, other countries smoke more than we do).
You really can't compare cruising to any other vacation area or non-smoking area. You can always leave
a park, a restaurant, a hotel, etc., and have a smoke, but you can't get off the ship (unless you want to take a swim!) to smoke!
Those of you who have never smoked have no
idea how hard it is to stop (even for a cruise
). Smoking is addictive, just like other addictions. A smoker without some kind of help will go through "classic" withdrawal symptoms. Is this really something you'd
want to do on vacation??
Also, there are the groups who cruise. If there are 20 people in a group and one or two smoke, they're going to pass on cruising if smoking is totally prohibited.
I think that the Carnival Corporation has done a fair job of giving smoker's a couple of places to smoke on all it's ships (Carnival, Princess, HAL, etc.).