Tokyo company gives extra holidays to nonsmoking employees

According to the Telegraph, Tokyo-based marketing firm Piala Inc. introduced the perk in September, and employees have been taking advantage of the paid leave.

"But at the same time, it's true that smoking room conversations are mostly about work they exchange ideas and consult each other".

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

The company's corporate planning director, Hirotaka Matsushima - a non-smoker himself - said the scheme was "pretty popular". "The company is willing to take an even tougher anti-smoking measure in the future", said a public relations officer.

One of those new non-smokers, Shun Shinbaba, 25, told CNNMoney he used to smoke a pack of cigarettes every two days, and that he plans to use his newfound vacation time to play tennis.

After hearing about the complaint, the company's CEO, Takao Asuka, chose to give nonsmoking employees time off to compensate.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", Piala Inc chief executive Takao Asuka told Kyodo News. Almost 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures. The figure is higher among males and older generations.

In Japan, while smoking is allowed in restaurants and bars without any designated smoking area, it is banned on the streets.

Japan lags behind other developed nations in terms of smoke-free policies and the social pressure to quit is less intense.

The move was aimed to encourage smokers to quit, but it's also about equality. 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.

A Japanese company is giving non-smokers one major break to make up for several smaller ones afforded their smoking employees.

  • Sylvester Abbott