Japanese company gives non-smoker staff extra 6 days off

Glen Mclaughlin
November 4, 2017

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", he said. 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. A number of companies have recently begun banning employees from smoking at work, with smoking rooms being used for other purposes. And though many companies offer some sort of incentive to kick the butts for health and insurance reasons, at Piala, it's all about fairness.

The change in company policy is meant to encourage staff to quit smoking.

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

The novel benefit even has its own name - "Sumokyu" - a combination of the word smoke and the Japanese word for "break".

The problem was exacerbated by the fact the company is based on the 29th floor of an office block, making it a 15-minute trip to get to the smoking zone in the lobby and back.

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The World Health Organisation ranks Japan at the bottom of the list in anti-smoking regulations according to the type of public places entirely smoke-free and around 18 per cent of Japanese are believed to smoke.

Despite a downward trend in recent years in the use of tobacco products in Japan, nearly 20 percent of the population still smokes. It was only this past year that the percentage of Japanese adults who smoke fell below 20 percent.

"The time is right for Japan to finally catch up now with the Olympics just around the corner", Douglas Bettcher, WHO's director for prevention of non-communicable disease, said at a news conference earlier this year. But the Japanese government is facing global pressure to cut down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

There are many western countries which encourages smoking in restaurants and work areas.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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