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Why I took up smoking for my health

I have had a lot of jobs in my life.  I’ve been working since I was 14, and have worked in hospitality, restaurants, state government, a hair salon, corporate, and non-profit work.  And there is one universal truth about every company where I have worked.

Smokers get more breaks.

If you don’t smoke, it feels weird to take a random break.  And if you’re a non-smoker, you don’t dare say a word to the smokers about their extensive breaks because god forbid they miss a break and a cig and then rip your head off and crap down your neck.

It could happen.

A few years ago, on a lovely afternoon, I decided to take a break and read outside of my building on a comfy bench.  As I was enjoying my fabulous fresh air and vitamin D (and let’s be honest, I was probably getting burned in my 15 minutes outside), a fellow employee on her way to smoke shack said “must be nice to sit outside and read at work”.

I looked her squarely in the eye, made a “V” sign with my fingers, brought it up to my mouth, took a drag, and let out a kick ass fake smoke ring (I was a fast learner) and said “I’m not reading, I’m smoking”.

Ever since then, on nice days, my sunglasses, my book and I head outside at break time, and I “smoke” for 15 lovely minutes.  I breathe the non-circulated office air deep in to my lungs, and get caught up in whatever library book I am currently enjoying.  The ladies in my office call it my “faux smo” break.

I occasionally get a smart ass comment from a passing employee, but I always go back to my “I’m smoking” comment.  Most of the time, they laugh and say they too should take up “smoking” for their health.

American workers rarely take all the breaks they are due/afforded by law.  We’re also one of the only societies that don’t take every yearly vacation day we to which we are entitled.  In an effort to make sure my job doesn’t consume me on a daily basis, my “smoking” habit allows me to take a brief breather during the day, recalibrate, and go back in and be able to do great work.  If 15 minutes of sunshine and getting caught up on some wonderful books allows me to give my best, who in the world would deny that has a high return on investment.

And so, I “smoke”.  Day in and day out, I take big drags of air, and I come back better for it.

Faux smo…it’s for your health!

What tricks do you do at work to keep yourself sane?

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14 comments on “Why I took up smoking for my health”

  1. When I was first quitting smoking the smoke break was something I clung to. I would take a walk around the block or grab a coffee. I’m sure the “fresh air” in downtown Seattle was no better than a cig, but the exercise and change in scenery was nice.

    I always took smoke breaks at that job.

  2. You are awesome girl!

  3. I love this!

    I eat too many lunches at my desk and I cannot remember the last time I actually went outside just to be out rather than walking outside on my way to another task.

    Faux Smo. For the Health of it. 🙂

  4. You are so on target with this, love the philosophy!

  5. You certainly had me worried there for a while, I’ll confess. I use my lunch break for naps, so I guess nobody really finds my breaks unusual. At my PT job, I just either sit in the bathroom (only place where you can sit down that is not the cafeteria, which is closed more than it’s open) or said cafeteria when it’s open. Nobody really bothers me if I’m just sitting there (since I am ALWAYS moving). I do consider it a nice break just to go to the post office and drop letters in that I would’ve dropped in at the end of the day, just to walk outside. I call them my mental-health breaks.

  6. So true! I actually did take up smoking in college, because at the restaurant I worked at it was the only way to get a break! All of us “cool kids” would hang out in the break room and have 15 minutes of social time. Since then I have I finished college, quit smoking, found a job in my career field, got married and had 3 kids and still miss those breaks. I make up for it by having social time during the day a few times, but I miss the “fresh air” those smokes required.

    I love your blog. I do not practice a frugal lifestyle (I wish I did) and I am often irritated by the frugal blogs that tell you not to put jam on you kids PB&J, because it cost $.30, so instead use cinnamon and give them more water to drink, because the sandwich will make your kid’s mouth as dry as the Sahara (but make sure you still give your man of the house and more deserving husband jam). True story!

  7. When I was in the Air Force, both my boss and co-worker smoked. Often times they would take a break together and I would be stuck in the office doing more work than either of them.

    Until I did what you did one day. I went outside while they were on their smoke break. When they asked if my work was done (I was the lowest ranking in the office), I just informed them that I was taking a smoke break. My boss chuckled, then told me to get back to work. I told him I would stop taking smoke breaks when he did.

    I never missed smoke break after that.

    Course now that I am a stay-home-homeschooling-mom/full-time college student, I should think about taking up “faux smo” breaks. I could sure use them!

  8. Smokers at my company need to leave the building, so they get a little extra long break and I feel bad running to Starbucks for a Frap!

  9. What a great idea!
    And you’re right–why do Americans not want to take all the vacation they’re entitled to? When you do take your earned time off, everyone gives you crap and it’s so annoying.

  10. Not take all of your vacation time…WHAT! After nearly 16 years at my current job, I have a whopping 20 vacation days, and 3 sick days. Of course, if I don’t use my sick days in this calendar year, I get a bonus day next year for a total of 4 sick days. If I don’t use my four next year, I lose them and go back to 3 again. So, why would I not just take my 3 sick days every year if I need them? Instead of coming in sick like a lot of my coworkers who don’t want to use their sick days. I may have to start taking faux smo breaks, too. Great idea!

  11. When smoking was allowed at my old job I used to take fresh air breaks.

  12. I learned this trick at the ripe old age of 16! I worked at a Pizza Hut where I was the only non drug user.. and one of maybe 4 non smokers. We were slow that evening, all the drivers were outside smoking, half the other staff also. I stepped outside to enjoy the sun a few minutes and my boss asked why I was not inside.. I told him I was taking my non-smoking break.. if EVERYONE else gets to go hang out and play in the grass-ON THE CLOCK.. multiple times a shift.. I was going to get my equal share.. minus the death sentance.. He snubbed his cigarette out and walked back into the kitchen.. I held that job 4+ years! (being 100% sober afforded me a lot of control!lol)

  13. That is for damn sure. I love that you did this!

    At work, I take breaks by blogging and by going for walks with some of my co-workers.

  14. Heheheh! I have visions of you puffing one of those fake cigarettes we used to get from joke shops as kids here. The realistic “smoke” was provided by filling the little tube with flour!
    Alternatively a pipe. Just an empty, old skool smoking pipe (à la Sherlock Holmes) – also useful for pointing, and making fish noises. Or, my personal favourite, a bubble pipe.