Company will give non-smoking employees 6 extra days off

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There are other ways to incentivize employees to quit smoking, according to The Midwest Business Group on Health.

Piala, a marketing firm based out of Tokyo, begun offering its non-smoking employees extra paid days after an employee complained that colleagues who take breaks throughout the day to smoke often end up working less. Piala, a Tokyo-based online commerce consulting and marketing company, chose to kick-start the programme after an employee complained about the time lost work by smoking colleagues.

"One of our nonsmoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems", Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company, told The Telegraph.

The added time is meant to compensate non-smokers for the 15-minute breaks smokers take throughout the year. Additionally, the Japanese government holds a stake in Japan Tobacco, the multinational tobacco giant, which critics say compromises its smoking policy.

"I hope to encourage employees to quit smoking through incentives rather than penalties or coercion", he told a reporter.

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Overall, smoking is still quite prevalent in Japan, with nearly 20 percent of over-20-year-olds saying they smoke. 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.

In July, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike made plans to impose a smoking ban in public places across the Japanese capital ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The organisation, which has approximately 120 employees, launched the benefit to staff in September, and to date it has been taken up by 31 employees.

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

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