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Japanese Company Awarding Six Extra Vacation Days To Workers Who Don’t Smoke

CBS Local — In Japan, a marketing firm has announced it is awarding its non-smoking employees six more vacation days to make up for the cigarette breaks their co-workers take.

A spokesman for Piala Inc. said their policy was adopted after non-smokers said the long breaks by smokers had become a problem.

“Because our office is located on the 29th floor…it takes at least 10 minutes for a smoker to go down to a common smoking room in the basement and come back,” spokesman Hirotaka Matsushima said, via NDTV.com. The company’s CEO, Takao Asuka, added that he hoped the policy gave his workers an incentive to quit the habit.

The marketing company is not the only group policing the life choices of its members. A government-run healthcare provider in Great Britain has made the controversial decision to bar its hospitals from performing non-urgent surgeries on smokers and the obese.

The U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) announced in September it would be denying procedures such as hip and knee surgeries to patients until they “improve their health.” The surgery ban reportedly gives overweight patients a nine-month window to cut the fat. Smokers must prove with a breath test that they haven’t had a cigarette in eight weeks to receive their surgery.

The new policy is reportedly aimed at cutting healthcare costs for the NHS, which was $3 billion over budget according to a report in May. “Major surgery poses much higher risks for severely overweight patients who smoke,” a NHS England spokesman said, via Forbes.

British medical professionals have spoken out against the NHS decision, saying the policy goes against standard medical practice.

“Singling out patients in this way goes against the principles of the NHS. This goes against clinical guidance and leaves patients waiting long periods of time in pain and discomfort. It can even lead to worse outcomes following surgery,” the Royal College of Surgeons’ Ian Eardley told the Independent.

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