Not smoking gets Japanese workers an extra week of vacation

"Our CEO saw the comment and agreed".

The frequent cigarette breaks meant many employees were away from their desks upwards of 15 minutes each day, Matsushima added.

To promote productive work culture and healthy lifestyle, a Japanese company has promised to reward six additional holidays to employees who don't smoke.

The initiative named as "Sumokyu"- wordplay on the word "smoke" and a Japanese word for "break" - was rolled out by a Tokyo-based online marketing consultant Piala on September 1 after an employee complained about the time lost because the colleagues went smoking.

Non-smokers always talk about the extra time smokers take off from work, which they are deprived. The situation was compounded by the fact that smokers often ventured down from the company's office on the 29th floor to a smoking area in the basement.

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"We don't give punishment for smoking", said Piala spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima. After the offer was announced in September, four employees made a decision to give up smoking, the company said.

"I am no longer shunned by nonsmokers as I have rid myself of the odor of cigarette smoke", said Masayuki Seto, an executive at a life insurance company, to the Japan Times.

The rift between smokers and non-smokers about the smoking breaks is very normal in every organisation.

Despite a downward trend in recent years in the use of tobacco products in Japan, nearly 20 percent of the population still smokes. Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures.

In Japan, while smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars without any designated smoking area, it is banned on the streets. Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike will reportedly push for a law to ban smoking in public places, which would render the capital smoke-free for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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