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

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

Piala, a marketing firm based in Tokyo, said the extra vacation time makes up for the cigarette breaks that the workers don't take because they do not share the same habit as the employees who smoke.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", he said. So far, 25 percent of the employees have taken days off under the new policy - and, at least according to the spokesperson, four people have quit smoking as a result of the policy.

A Japanese company has figured out a unique way to turn the game - it has started offering employees a leave of six days if they stop taking cigarette breaks. But most companies in Japan have banned smoking in the workplace and set up smoking rooms and tobacco use has been falling, in line with the global trend.

The initiative has apparently led 4 of the 42 smokers in the company to quit smoking. Apparently, smokers had to travel from the 29 floor of a major office building to the basement to smoke with each break lasting around 15 minutes.

The paid leave benefit was launched after non-smoking employees left comments in the organisation's suggestion box, stating that smoking breaks were causing problems.

In the United Kingdom as many as 17% of us smoke, down from 20% in 2010.

In Japan, about 1 to 5 adults smoke. The rate in the U.S.is 19.5 percent.

The country's smoking laws confine most outdoor smoking to designated areas, and it is banned on the street, but most restaurants and bars still allow it.

The company came to its envy-inducing vacation policy decision after a group of non-smoking employees complained about the issue. But the Japanese government is facing worldwide pressure to cut down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. According to the World Health Organization, Japanese men are three times more likely to smoke than Japanese women.

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