Company gives non-smokers additional days off to counter smoke breaks

Smoking kills and may also reduce your holidays. Know Why

"We don't give punishment for smoking", Matsushima said.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", he told Kyodo News. After a non-smoking employee submitted a complaint about how smoke breaks were affecting productivity, marketing firm Piala Inc. made a change to its paid time off policy.

As reported by The Telegraph, the non-smoking staff complained that since smokers took 15-minute smoke breaks as they had to go to the basement to smoke, they were working more as a result and this is when the company chose to give those employees the extended break.

Japanese marketing firm Piala is rewarding nonsmokers in the best way it knows how: with vacation days.

Company spokesperson Hirotaka Matsushima told the Telegraph that the idea came from a company suggestion box.

The added time is meant to compensate non-smokers for the 15-minute breaks smokers take throughout the year. To date, no fewer than 30 of the company's 120 employees have taken additional days off under the new system since it was introduced in September, said Matsushima - himself a non-smoker who has used the additional paid holidays to take his family to a hot spring resort for a couple of days. The figure is higher among males and older generations.

The initiative has apparently led 4 of the 42 smokers in the company to quit smoking.

About 1 in 5 adults in Japan smoke, and smoking rooms are commonly found in offices and public establishments. But most restaurants and bars still allow smoking. Most companies in Japan have banned smoking in the workplace and have set up separate smoking rooms.

The Japanese government is keen to ditch the country's reputation as a smokers haven by bringing its smoking rules in line with the majority of the developed world.

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