Monthly Archives: September 2016

When Smoke Breaks Disappear

I have been a nurse for twenty years. It’s a hard job, but it’s very rewarding. When I work twelve hour shifts in the intensive care unit, I rarely get time to catch my breath with patients constantly needing my attention and doctors often barking orders on their way out the door. In such a high stress environment, I found myself turning to the same thing that many nurses use to handle the stress: cigarettes.

The hospital always offered nurses a 15-minute smoke break every few hours. If you didn’t smoke, you didn’t get the break and since I badly needed those precious few minutes to catch my breath, I took up the habit years ago. I would go out the smoking area and enjoy a quick burst of nicotine that left me energized and relaxed enough to get my job done until my shift ended. It was a life saver to me, despite the fact that I knew the health risks involved with smoking.

Then last year, the hospital called a staff meeting. We all gathered into the big conference room and took our seats as the chief of medicine took the podium. His words left us all reeling. Smoke breaks were going to be eliminated. In fact, the hospital was becoming a “Tobacco Free” campus and we weren’t even going to be allowed to smoke anywhere on the premises whether we were on our lunch breaks or even after work. The nurses collectively groaned. We knew the hospital wanted to set a good example for the public, but this was going to be torture for those of us who counted on our smoke breaks like life support to see us through ach day.

After three days of misery without smoking during my 12-hour shift, I was seriously considering changing jobs. I just couldn’t handle the stress. I was having terrible nicotine withdrawals, constant headaches, and the days seemed to last forever. Just when I was about to throw my hands up and hang up my stethoscope, another nurse pulled me aside. “I found a loop hole!” she said.

She went on to tell me about her new electronic cigarette that she bought online. She even said she saved money with CocktailNerd E-Cigarette Coupons. It is technically “tobacco free” and it has no odor so no one could ever tell if you had smoked during your shift. Instead of smoke, it releases a vapor that is completely odorless. You can still get your nicotine fix without ever inhaling all those toxins or using any tobacco.

Within a week, all of the nurses had ordered electronic cigarettes. From Green Smoke to Blu Cigs and the Safe Cig, they were all represented in our unit. We would take “bathroom breaks” and hide in the staff bathrooms to get a quit hit of nicotine with our e-cigs. The administrators have never caught on and we are all happy, less stressed nurses now. If you work in a tobacco free environment, I would highly recommend electronic cigarettes. They are truly an answer to all your hopes and dreams!