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

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

The company said an employee had complained that their colleagues who smoked often worked less because they took smoking breaks throughout the day.

Piala Inc., a marketing firm in Japan - known for exceptionally high smoking rates - is now giving nonsmoking employees an extra six days of time off each year to make up for the smoking breaks their colleagues regularly take.

Non-smokers always talk about the extra time smokers take off from work, which they are deprived.

Smoke breaks are particularly time-consuming at the company - about 15 minutes each - because smokers must travel from the office on the 29th floor to the basement.

Company spokesperson Hirotaka Matsushima told the Telegraph that the idea came from a company suggestion box.

Cigarette breaks are the bane of non-smokers.

Takao Asuka, the Piala Inc CEO, told Kyodo News, "I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion".

Many Japanese firms are encouraging their workers to quit smoking, especially as the 2020 Summer Olympics draw near. For Western New York, that could helpful in combating smoking as both Erie and Niagara Counties are above the state average in smokers.

About 1 in 5 adults in Japan smoke, and smoking rooms are commonly found in offices and public establishments.

In many countries, including Japan and Britain, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death.

Japan lags behind other developed nations in terms of smoke-free policies and the social pressure to quit is less intense. But the Japanese government is facing worldwide pressure to cut down on public smoking before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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.