|I'm one of your 21% Matt. I've opened several hdd's used by smokers (failed and just to destroy the drive) and have never seen cigarette smoke residue on a platter.|
The internal failures I found were motor problems on most drives and a couple of physical crashes that caused platter damage on some old drives.
That said and if the information I've seen is correct, smoke particles rapidly become larger as the smoke cools and ages. As I remember, that is because the particles are liquid and not solid.
Feel free to correct me...you shouldn't trust my memory any more than I do.