a smoko to destress - smoking

Right up until he passed away, Dr John Hinwood was a prolific blogger (an award-winning blogger in fact!). John’s blog’s shared musing from a rich history of experience, learnings, travel and wisdom.

The Hinwood Institute is named in honour of Dr John and to continue his legacy, we’re republishing his blogs to keep his wisdom, wit and wise words alive for the world to enjoy.

You can learn more about the legacy of Dr John Hinwood HERE.

Recently I came out from my dental appointment in Brisbane city and 20 metres down the street on the footpath outside an office building was a group of women and men, standing beside a kerbside garbage bin enjoying their ‘morning smoko’.

This is a common site in any Australian city or town during working hours as smoking is banned inside of business premises.

I thought I would do some market research that morning.

Stopping at the ‘smoko’ circle, I said to the group… “Hi, I’m John Hinwood from the Stress Management Institute and I’m doing some research on smoking and stress. Would you all be happy to answer a few questions for me please?”

One of the women said to her colleagues, “We’re all OK to answer John’s questions, aren’t we?” They all responded, “Yes”.

My questions and their answers were interesting. 



How many ‘smoko’ breaks do you get each day?

“Three, morning and afternoon tea and lunch”


Do you find having a smoke is destressing and relaxing?

“Oh yes, very relaxing and it really helps with reducing our stress.”



What about the health risks associated with smoking?

“Oh, we don’t worry about that.”

What do you like best about your ‘smoko’ breaks?

“We get to come outside in the fresh air and out of the air conditioning.”


I notice you are blowing smoke over each other as you stand here in your circle. Is that not unhealthy?

“Oh, we don’t notice it.”

All these buses that are continually driving past here in the kerb lane and belching out, smoke and fumes, doesn’t that bother you all?

“Oh, we don’t notice it!”

Is smoking an important way for you to manage stress in your lives?

“It’s an important way to help us all feel less stressed.”

man smoking

There were 10.7% of Australians aged 18 years and over who were current daily smokers.

Physical health you might say was not high on the agenda of this group of smokers I surveyed.

However, mental and emotional health was very important to this group and they all believed smoking was a key for them in how they managed their daily stress levels.

They were a happy, chatty group who enjoyed other company of each-other and smoking was their common positive solution to reducing and managing their stress.

    P.S. If you’d like to know how likely your stress will lead to ill health, you may try our Stress Test below. 

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    About the Author

    Barbara Clifford - The Time Tamer

    Dr. John Hinwood is a Global Leader in Stress Management. He is a very experienced and respected executive coach, mentor, consultant, sought after international speaker and author. He specialises in facilitation that leads clients out of the stress and into the calm. He has a reputation for innovative and transformational work in stress-life balance and mindset change for front line employees, to managers and business leaders.

    Dr John Hinwood has shared the stage with Dr John Demartini, Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Joe Dispenzia, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul fame), Dr Bruce Lipton, Dr Masaru Emoto and others who are at the cutting edge of human behaviour and mindset change.

    He has written 14 books with 4 being Amazon international best sellers. He has had papers published in academic journals and was once Captain/Coach of the Danish National Rugby Team. Dr. John’s experience as a health professional by training, successful businessman by effort and an inspiration by inclination has given him an awesome array of practical tools for success.