Japanese marketing firm rewards non-smokers with extra days off

Each smoking break at the Tokyo firm lasted around 15 minutes
Credit
PA

Each smoking break at the Tokyo firm lasted around 15 minutes Credit PA

Japanese companies are encouraging its employees to quit smoking by providing the facility of six additional leaves.

Piala Inc., a marketing company based in Japan, introduced a new policy in September that grants its non-smoking employees six extra days of paid time off every year. "But at the same time, it's true that smoking room conversations are mostly about work ... they exchange ideas and consult each other", he said. Piala, a Tokyo-based online commerce consulting and marketing company, chose to kick-start the programme after an employee complained about the time lost work by smoking colleagues.

Employees used to think it was unfair that smokers "spend about 15 minutes each for a cigarette break", he told CNNMoney.

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

Following the suggestion, the company's CEO Takao Asuka made a decision to give non-smoking employees extra time off to compensate, Matsushima added.

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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.

About 130,000 people die every year in Japan of smoking-related diseases, and an additional 15,000 die of secondhand smoke-related conditions, Susan Mercado, a World Health Organization official tells The Japan Times.

The Japanese government is looking at a possible ban on all cigarettes in public areas in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games. But most restaurants and bars still allow smoking, at least in some areas. Piala Inc.is trying to encourage employees to quit. "So we decided it's better to give rewards (to non-smokers) than punish the smokers".

Since the introduction of the policy no fewer than 30 people out of the total 120 have availed the policy.

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