At some point they figured out that smoking is somewhat less bad for you if you smoke outside
That's not true. If you live in the house of someone who was formerly a heavy smoker then you have a higher cancer risk yourself, because the radiation from the cigarrettes gets into the walls and carpet. Which means that smokers themselves also have a lower cancer risk if they smoke outside for the same reason. I'd imagine it also somewhat reduces their risk for heart attack, since second hand smoke increases your risk of heart attack, although I haven't seen any stats on that.
I've known several.
> This may be dismissed as anecdotal by the type of vehement anti-smoking zealot you seem to be
I guess your anecdotal evidence trumps my anecdotal evidence. Carry on.