This Japanese company is offering nonsmokers extra vacation days

This Japanese firm rewards non-smoker employees to promote productive work culture

But instead of punishing the smokers, the company wound up rewarding the non-smokers, giving them six extra vacation days a year.

The frequent cigarette breaks meant many employees were away from their desks upwards of 15 minutes each day, Matsushima added. This is mostly because I once had a job where I worked with a close friend who was a smoker and I couldn't resist this acceptable way of taking mini-vacations throughout the day for a quick chat with her.

Piala Inc., a marketing firm in Tokyo, announced the policy in September, and a quarter of the workforce has taken advantage of it. Since offering the extra vacation time in September, four out of the firm's 42 daily smokers have given up the habit.

Naturally, the resentment among the non-smokers grew as the company's head office is on the 29th floor of an office block in the Ebisu district of Tokyo.

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WEF data showed the country's ranking declined to 25th in economic participation and opportunity in 2017, from 21st in 2016. Zahidi says that public-private collaborations or exchanging information about best practices could help address the issue.

"We don't give punishment for smoking", company spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima was quoted by CNN Money as saying.

"In the United Kingdom, 70% of smokers actively want to quit so there's definitely an opportunity for companies to deliver cost-effective solutions that help them achieve their goals". Most companies in Japan have banned smoking in the workplace and have set up separate smoking rooms.

According to the World Health Organisation, 21.7 per cent of Japanese adult's smoke.

As you can see in the photo below, public spaces in Japan are eerily reminiscent of what USA customers might have encountered before statewide bans took off in the mid-1990s. But curbing tobacco use in Japan will likely be hard, as it was in the U.S. Original efforts by the country's health ministry to ban indoor smoking in restaurants were scaled back after lobbyists pressured politicians. But the Japanese government is facing global pressure to cut down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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