Chaff vs. smoke screens
I decided to try out these bits of equipment that I had stored up but hadn't gotten around to actually sticking on a ship.
The smoke screen was a total bust. Absolutely worthless. The (small) effect lasted for 2 seconds, so you have to stay close to the smoke for it to be any good at all, and then you have to be careful not to fly into it because it affects YOU too. And the 2 seconds just isn't enough to be useful because the enemy ships will be spending too much time outside the area of effect even if they're just flying in a circle. As a debuff, it wasn't even close to what an EMP can do, and that does damage as well.
The chaff, though, I am seriously in love with. It doesn't just distract missiles; enemy ships will fire their beam weapons at it (and sometimes ballistics, I think, though those might be accidental hits). Really handy against all sorts of enemies. It still has the proximity issue, but seems effective over a wider area, so if you're standing to fight it out, it'll protect you against a lot of enemies quite well. Combine with a mine to help against the point-blank attackers, and you're in good shape.