From Freedom to Tinker:
Washington Square, in New York City, was for many years a place where drugs were sold. A fellow would stand around quietly saying to passersby "Smoke, smoke!" However, this so-called "steerer" held no drugs. His role was simply to direct the buyer to the "pitcher", who had the drugs somewhere nearby, and who kept silent.
Was for many years? Past tense? Heck, that happened to me two days ago. I thought the guy was trying to bum a cigarette. I told him I didn't smoke.