worker speaking walking outside with caption 'I once got in trouble at an internship for taking smoke breaks as a non smoker' (l) worker putting cigarette out in outdoor ashtray (c) worker speaking outside walking with caption 'so every time they went to go take their smoke break I would also' (r)

fongbeerredhot/Shutterstock @poorandhungry/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘fr it’s so unfair that smokers get extra breaks all the time’: Worker says she got in trouble for taking smoke breaks as a non-smoker

'As a non-smoker, I couldn't take a break, too?'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on May 24, 2023

A TikToker is going viral for sharing how she took advantage of her workplace’s smoking break allowance despite not being a smoker.

User Syd (@poorandhungry) is walking and talking throughout the length of the 30-second clip. She explains that when she was an intern, she got in trouble after someone found out she was taking smoke breaks despite being a non-smoker.

Syd explains that the person who sat next to her was a smoker, and because of this, they were entitled to a certain amount of smoke breaks, according to the company’s employee handbook.

@poorandhungry Made sense to me! #smokebreak #internship ♬ original sound – $yd

As a non-smoker, she didn’t get any breaks, nor did she have the perk of leaving early. To make up for the unequal work times, Syd started taking a “smoke break,” which for her was really just a regular break whenever her colleague went out for one. She’d go outside and use her phone until her colleague was done smoking and headed back inside.

“You were taking a 2nd hand smoke break,” one commenter said.

“I was taking the exact same amount of smoke breaks as the smoker, but as a non-smoker, I couldn’t take a break too?” she says, questioning the logic behind why she got in trouble.

The video has nearly half a million views and hundreds of comments. Syd has more than 237,000 followers on TikTok and largely recounts stories of her life, work, and travel.

Commenters were largely on Syd’s side, and some shared their own related stories or workarounds.

“I’d bring a pack of cigarettes and not smoke them if corporate were to be petty like that,” a person suggested.

“I used to give the non-smokers fruit breaks. Take five mins, go have a little orange,” another shared.

“I got called into a disciplinary meeting for doing this exact same thing. Still blows my mind !!!!” a third commenter wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Syd for comment via email.

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*First Published: May 24, 2023, 9:14 am CDT