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Company gives non-smokers 6 extra days off to make up for co-workers’ smoke breaks

TOKYO, Japan - A Japanese company is rewarding its non-smoking staff with six extra days of paid time off each year.

The move came after employees at the Japanese marketing firm Piala, Inc. placed a comment in the company's suggestion box, complaining that their co-workers were unfairly getting more time away from work in the form of smoke breaks.

The CEO listened to those concerns and, instead of punishing the smokers by doing away smoke breaks, he rewarded all non-smokers on his staff with six more vacation days to make up for all those breaks.

Those smoke breaks averaged about 15 minutes each, as the company is on the 29th floor of a high-rise building, and employees are required to go to the basement before lighting up.

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

Smoking is big business in Japan, where nearly 22 percent of the adult population smokes, compared to 15 percent in the U.S.

The new incentive was just introduced in September and non-smoking employees are already taking full advantage of the perk.

Should American companies also offer extra time off to employees who don't smoke?