WASHINGTON—The American Sociological Association released a new report Wednesday revealing that letting a stranger bum a cigarette remains the sole act of human compassion still in practice. “Following 16 months of field research, we have concluded that the voluntary sacrifice of a smoke to a person one does not know represents the last bastion of human empathy,” said ASA president Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, noting that in no other social interaction would the person relinquishing something of value decline to accept even $1 of compensation for their trouble. “Taking a moment to stop what you’re doing and listen to the request for a cigarette, and maybe even provide your fellow man with a light, is surely one of the few instances of sympathy and kinship left in the world. While this is somewhat heartening, our research found that it has been decades since an individual was observed acting in a charitable way by breaking a $10 bill for a stranger.” The report also found that the most prevalent act of human hostility remained asking to bum a smoke, but then turning down a menthol cigarette.

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