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SK Group joins no-smoking drive

Yet another industrial giant has decided to join the growing number of companies to create a smoke-free working environment.

On Wednesday, SK Group, a local energy and telecom giant, said it informed workers that it is to completely ban smoking from its headquarters starting next week.

The ban will be effective from Monday in all 35 stories of the SK building in downtown Seoul, which serves as home to many of the conglomerate’s key affiliates, including SK Corp. and Innovation, with around 2,300 employees working on the premises.

Until now, there were smoking areas on every floor of the SK building for the convenience of smokers.

“We made the decision as a part of our campaign to better protect the rights of non-smokers and change the corporate culture,” SK Group’s public relations office said, adding that the group’s corporate slogan for this year was to achieve growth through innovations in corporate cultures.

Another factor was SK Chairman Chey Tae-won, who is a non-smoker and keenly supported the idea to ban smoking from the building.

SK has now joined the growing number of firms ― mostly conglomerates or multinational companies ― choosing to ban smoking completely from their buildings.

Companies such as POSCO, Samsung and LG have all adopted such policies. Some of the firms have gone so far as to urge their employees to quit by offering either rewards or disincentives.

The government, led by Seoul City, has been enthusiastically campaigning to reduce smoking among the public.

Seoul City has banned smoking at bus-stops and in some public areas, such as by the Cheonggye Stream near Seoul City Hall.

Smokers, however, have complained that their rights are being violated in the no-smoking drive.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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