Tokyo company gives extra holidays to nonsmoking employees

Piala, a marketing company in Tokyo, opted for a novel perk for its employees: an extra week’s holiday for those who are nonsmokers. The company’s spokesman said Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 that the company began offering the additional six days of vacation to all of its 120 staff members in September. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

Piala, a marketing company in Tokyo, opted for a novel perk for its employees: an extra week’s holiday for those who are nonsmokers. The company’s spokesman said Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 that the company began offering the additional six days of vacation to all of its 120 staff members in September. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

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People gather at a smoking area in Tokyo. A marketing company in Tokyo has began offering six extra days of vacation to all of its nonsmoking staff members. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

TOKYO (AP) — A marketing company in Tokyo is awarding a novel perk to its non-puffing employees: an extra week’s holiday for nonsmokers.

The corporate planning director for Piala, Hirotaka Matsushima, said Thursday that the company began offering the six days of extra vacation to all of its 120 staff members in September.

“Yes, it’s pretty popular,” said Matsushima, himself a nonsmoker.

He said the policy was installed as a benefit for nonsmokers to compensate for smoking breaks taken by their colleagues. About two-thirds of the company’s employees don’t smoke, he said.

Overall, smoking is still quite prevalent in Japan, with almost 20 percent of over-20-year-olds saying they smoke. Nearly 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that’s down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures.

But most office workers must do their puffing in designated smoking rooms and outdoor areas, and cities are gradually imposing limits on outdoor smoking in public areas. But most restaurants and bars still allow smoking.

Piala, established in 2004, says it provides advertising and automated marketing services for direct marketers and other companies.