What Do You Think About Smoke Breaks?

There was something bewildering at my first full-time job. Not exactly in my office, but in the building we shared with other companies.

It seemed like whenever I arrived at work or took a bathroom break in the restroom shared by the entire building, I’d see the same people smoking outside. I was baffled that their employers were okay with them using so much company time for a recreation.

At the time, I fancied the idea someday running my own company, and I wondered if an employer could simply forbid smoking or not hire someone if they smoked. I’m not sure about the legality of either of those things, but today I read about a better solution: Instead of punishing those who smoke, why not reward non-smokers?

As detailed in this article, Japanese marketing firm Piala recently introduced a new policy that grants non-smoking staff members 6 extra paid vacation days every year. Apparently 30 employees so far have used the extra paid leave, and the policy has had at least some impact on 4 employees quitting smoking.

I love positive incentives and reinforcements like this. Though, as someone who has never smoked a cigarette, I’m pretty biased. What do you think about it?