Non-smokers are winning extra holiday days

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A Tokyo-based company is rewarding its nonsmoking employees with six extra days of vacation.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion".

Despite the policy's recent introduction, 30 of the company's 120 employees have already taken advantage.

After hearing about the complaint, the company's CEO, Takao Asuka, chose to give nonsmoking employees time off to compensate. After the offer was announced in September, four employees chose to give up smoking, the company said.

"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".

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

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The benefit, named "smoking holiday" by the organisation, has been implemented to help staff improve their health as well as to help reform working practices.

About 20 per cent of Japanese smoke, down sharply from recent decades, but still one of the highest rates in the world, according to government figures. 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.

The decrease in American smokers is due in part to health initiatives and laws banning smoking in certain areas, major retailers no longer selling cigarettes and anti-smoking TV advertisements.

Unlike many western countries, smoking is permitted in certain sections of restaurants. 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.

In Japan, about 1 to 5 adults smoke. About 15 per cent of USA adults smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unsurprisingly, staffers who don't smoke have been pleased with the bonus time.

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