A truly unintended consequence
Most of the time
a result labeled as an "unintended consequence" is fully intended. The real purpose is obvious and the lies are equally obvious.
Occasionally a consequence is truly unintended by the tyrants who make a rule or policy.
As a consequence of idiot "no smoking almost anywhere" laws, smokers have become the only real humans, the only people who interact in a civilized way and watch out for the welfare of others.
The socializing has been noted by many writers. The watching is more subtle.
Supposedly you should be able to smoke inside your own house. Renters generally aren't allowed to smoke in their houses, so they smoke on the porch. Lately the renter-habit has spread to homeowners. Even when both husband and wife smoke and there are no kids in the house, they still go out. No practical reason to keep the smoke outside, just a sense of propriety.
Most houses around here have back decks, supposedly meant for 'recreation'. But that's not where people go. It's always the front porch, which doesn't have chairs and tables and umbrellas... but does
give a view of what's happening in the neighborhood.
Result: Smokers see things.
They are the witnesses. News stories
often include items like this:
Neighborhood resident ____ ____ said she stepped outside to smoke when she heard sirens and then what sounded like a car crash followed by gunfire. “There was five shots after a crashing sound,” she said.
Smokers = good citizens.
= = = = =
Afterthought: Dystopian novels always feature a Saving Remnant, the seceded subculture that carries civilization through the dark age. The Smoking Remnant.