Non-smokers get extra vacation time at this company

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

The company has introduced a paid leave allowance to non-smokers, giving them an extra six days off per year. On average, each daily smoker and recent quitter took nearly 2.5 more sick days in 2010 compared to employees who have never smoked, the conference board found.

The company says the idea came from an employee who complained that colleagues who smoked often worked less because of the cigarette breaks they took throughout the day.

A Japanese company is granting its non-smoking staff an additional six days of holiday a year to make up for the time smokers take for cigarette breaks.

"You don't hear much about the two pack three pack a day smokers anymore", Billoni said, "because without being able to smoke all day long at work it's physically impossible to have that many cigarettes".

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

The initiative has apparently led 4 of the 42 smokers in the company to quit smoking. But most companies in Japan have banned smoking in the workplace and set up smoking rooms and tobacco use has been falling, in line with the global trend.

According to the World Health Organization, 21.7 percent of Japanese smoke.

In many countries, including Japan and Britain, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death.
However, in Japan, smoking is banned at work places and a common smoking room is constructed for employees to smoke only in that common room.

Japan lags behind other developed nations in terms of smoke-free policies and the social pressure to quit is less intense. The rate in the U.S.is 19.5 percent.

Full disclosure: For a nonsmoker, I have taken a lot of smoking breaks. The figure is expected to change as the government has been putting effort to impose tougher anti-smoking laws ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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