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101 Things to Do Instead of Smoking

Distract Yourself and the Urge to Smoke Will Pass...


Updated July 13, 2014

Woman reading book
Shuntaro Hosokawa/Image Source/Getty Images

Sometimes the best thing we can do when craving a cigarette is to simply redirect our attention to something different and interesting. Nine times out of ten, the urge is gone within moments.

Our thoughts color our lives, so if you find that yours are taking you places you'd rather not go, take charge and shift your focus.

The following list was generated by About.com Smoking Cessation forum members. Thanks to all who contributed!

  1. Read a book.
  2. Wash the car.
  3. Wash the dog.
  4. Go for a walk.
  5. Knit a scarf.
  6. Do a crossword puzzle.
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Call a friend.
  9. Stop and smell the roses...or the delicate scent of apples that you couldn't appreciate as a smoker.
10. Play with the cat.
11. Turn the bathroom into a spa and relax and rejuvenate.
12. Listen to a relaxation tape or some favorite music.
13. Go the the gym and work out.
14. Give yourself a manicure and pedicure.
15. Watch a funny movie on TV.
16. Bake a cake.
17. Go to a movie at the theater.
18. Window shop at the mall.
19. Do a jigsaw puzzle online at Jigzone.com
20. Breathe deeply!
21. Drink some ice water.
22. Jump on a treadmill and work up a sweat.
23. Give someone you love a huge hug.
24. Plant some flowers.
25. Go fishing.
26. Plan a vacation.
27. Take up a new hobby/interest.
28. Work in the garden.
29. Can pickles.
30. Suck on a piece of TART candy.
31. Slather on rich, creamy hand lotion and rub, rub, rub! It keeps fingers busy, and reminds you how nice it is not to have tobacco stink on them.
32. Eat a popsicle.
33. Floss and brush your teeth.
34. Cuddle up with your love.
35. Chew gum.
36. Do the laundry.
37. Spend time with a child.
38. Give yourself a treat every day of your quit - no matter how small.
39. Spend an hour filling and enjoying the paddling pool in the garden on a gorgeous sunny day.
40. Play a game of internet scrabble.
41. Create a list of small treats for #38 above.
42. Get your jammies on early, and park yourself in front of your computer for the night.
43. Build something with wood.
44. Refinish a piece of furniture.
45. Digitize the family photos.
46. Paint a room in the house with a faux finishing technique.
47. Create a family cookbook.
48. Try a new exercise routine.
49. Make a terrarium.
50. Whistle!
51. Practice smiling in the mirror (releases endorphins)!
52. Make lists of pros and cons of smoking.
53. Find gross smoking disease pictures.
54. Start a sewing project.
55. Spend some time scrapbooking.
56. Get a camera, and take some pictures.
57. Write a letter.
58. Clean out the closets or overflowing drawers in the house.
59. Crank up the radio and sing at the top of your lungs (works great for driving craves).
60. Crank up the music and dance like no one is watching.
61. Create a puzzle from a family photo.
62. Organize your boxes of pictures.
63. Alphabetize your book shelves.
64. Volunteer somewhere in your community.
65. Clean the car, inside and out.
66. Do your nails. Hard to smoke with wet nails.
67. Take a shower.
68. Take a candle-lit bath.
69. Wax the car.
70. Take a day trip.
71. Try making home-made candles or soap.
72. Run in place.
73. Do some jumping jacks.
74. Start a reward fund - put away the amount you spend on smokes every day and use for those daily treats.
75. Write a poem.
76. Go antique shopping.
77. Start a vegetable garden.
78. Go to church/talk to God.
79. Let your husband cook supper for you.
80. Call your Grandmother!
81. Paint a picture.
82. Eat a hot fudge sundae.
83. Go play mini-golf.
84. Clean the basement or garage.
85. Write a short story.
86. Try a new recipe.
87. Scrub the floor.
88. Treat yourself to a massage.
89. Chop up some veggies for a stir-fry - keep your hands busy!
90. Make a to-do list for the week ahead.
91. Check your car's tire pressure.
92. Start a home budget.
93. Ride a bike.
94. Spend some time in nature.
95. Watch the sun set.
96. Write a goodbye letter to cigarettes
97. Donate blood.
98. Color your hair.
99. Make a greeting card.
100. Write a list of things you are grateful for.

The final suggestion in our list comes in the form of a story...

101. Run around in the sand in your socks!


"One of the things I couldn't do before was take the kids to the beach. There's nowhere to hide and smoke there and I couldn't go that long without smoking.

"My 3 year old asked me today if we could go to the beach...someone at his daycare had mentioned it. It was a really cold day, so I said no, we couldn't. Well, he asked me if it was really far and it dawned on me how much I had actually been depriving this child. We live 2 miles away from 2 miles of beautiful beaches. So, I scooped him up in just his jammies and socks and down to the beach we went.

"I told him we couldn't get out of the car because he wasn't dressed for it, but then said, what the heck. We got out and cuddled and listened to the waves and he just looked at me and said, "The beach is great, Mom." I put him down in the sand and let him run around in his socks."

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