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Smoke Break Substitutes

Some smokers see their smoke break as a few minutes away from work or their daily routine where they can clear their head or socialize with other smokers. While you’ll have to give up those smoke breaks when you quit, it doesn’t mean you can’t take some time for yourself when you need a few minutes!

Instead of stepping out for a cigarette during the day, check out these alternative ways to stretch your legs, take some time for yourself, and enjoy a short non-smoking break.

Take a walk

Moving around throughout the day can keep your muscles healthy and your mind clear. Exercise may also help reduce urges to smoke. Start outside your office, maybe stroll through a nearby park, or just walk up and down some flights of stairs. (Better yet: Invite a coworker, friend, or neighbor to join you for the stroll!)


Rather than reach for a cigarette, reach for your toes or toward the ceiling. Stretching is another great substitute for a smoke break—especially if you aren’t able to get up and go somewhere else. No pressure to hop into splits: A simple overhead reach, bend at the waist, or neck roll can help get your blood flowing.

Call or text someone

Want to make a relative’s day? Call to remind them that you love them. Is there a buddy you’ve been meaning to check in with? Your former smoke break is a great opportunity to follow up.

Run an errand

If others around you start congregating for a cigarette break, take it as your cue to knock an item off your to-do list. Leave the smoking behind. Instead, make that trip to the drugstore you keep forgetting about, head to the grocery store to stock up on dinner items, or pick up your dry cleaning.

Look up recipes

Why not devote that former smoke break to looking up recipes you’ll be able to savor?

Plan a trip

With all the money and time you can save from leaving cigarettes behind, you may be able to splurge on a vacation. Plan one during those minutes you used to spend smoking! Having a trip to look forward to can be a great way to get your mind off lingering urges to smoke.