Japanese marketing firm rewards non-smokers with extra days off

Cigarette

We wish that our bosses in India would take inspiration from them and give us a little extra incentive as well.

About one-third of the people at the company, Piala, were smokers and stepped away from their desks during the day for cigarette breaks.

"The danger is that firms shouldn't appear to be punishing employees who smoke, but instead work hard to help them quit", he told The Memo.

Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesperson with Piala, told CTVNews.ca that 78 employees are taking advantage of the bonus vacation days and there has been no negative reaction from the company's 42 smokers.

The company granted non-smoking staff an additional six days off each year to make up for the time smokers take for cigarette breaks.

The company's office is located on the 29 floor, as per a report from The Telegraph, this means employee take an extra 10-15 minutes to return.

The rollout of the new benefit comes as other companies in Japan grapple with how to encourage their own workers to make healthier choices and as the government faces global pressure to crack down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In addition, four employees have started smoking cessation programmes since the scheme's introduction.

About 20 per cent of Japanese smoke, down sharply from recent decades, but still one of the highest rates in the world, according to government figures.

Smoking is still quite prevalent in Japan although most office workers must do their puffing in designated smoking rooms and outdoor areas.

In Japan, about 1 to 5 adults smoke.

There are many western countries which encourages smoking in restaurants and work areas. Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures. Tokyo's governor is hoping to enact a ban on smoking in public places before the Games arrive, though will likely have trouble pushing that through.

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