A new policy which went into effect on June 1 at every Starbucks in the U.S. and Canada, forbids smoking within 25 feet of its stores. Electronic cigarettes will also be banned at Starbucks locations.
According to Cynthia Hallett, the Executive Director of American Nonsmokers’ Rights, Starbucks will be the first major retail chain to enforce a policy for an issue that has typically been left up to the state.
Hallett told Fox News Starbucks is the first chain to go smoke-free on its patios. She added that the chain tested the policy in California in June 2010 when it enacted a 25 foot rule which went beyond the 15 foot rule set by state law.
A company representative confirmed to The Huffington Post that about 7,000 stores will be affected, but the rule won’t apply to Starbucks that are housed in other stores, such as Target.
In states where it is legal to smoke on the streets, there is nothing that Starbucks can do about it. But Hallett claims in states where there are no current laws that prevent smoking outside, Starbucks’ policy will go into effect.
Hallett says this is huge. “What Starbucks is doing differently, by banning smoking outside and on the patio, is showing leadership.”
Not everyone views Starbucks smoking ban as displaying leadership, with many expressing their disapproval on social media vowing to stop buying Starbucks.
“I am now boycotting Starbucks!!! They have banned smoking within 25ft of their entrance!!” wrote one Twitter user.
One comment posted at The Guardian reads: “All genuine coffee lovers should be banned within 25 feet of a Starbucks.”
Hotelier Sean Cummings, who runs the boutique hotel International House in New Orleans, adopted a similar policy to Starbucks in 2006, two years before there was any non-smoking legislation in Louisiana.
“I can’t speak for Starbucks, but considering our own motivation and commitment to go smoke-free, it seems there are only good intentions when you take that type of action.”
“Many states and local jurisdictions ban smoking in public areas. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, over 80 percent of the U.S. population lives under some kind of a ban on smoking, either in the workplace, restaurants, or bars.”
But as the Huffington Post points out, while indoor smoking bans are pretty much the rule now in the U.S., outdoor smoking bans are newer territory. Many universities and parks have gone smoke-free, but enforcing the ban is another matter.
Dallas, Texas prohibits smoking in all indoor and enclosed areas and within 15 feet of any entrance to an indoor or enclosed area.
And Oakland, California bans smoking within 25 feet of an entrance, exit, window, or air intake of the building, but makes an exemption for outside bars.
The Saratogian’s Jennie Grey notes New York’s Regulation of Smoking in Public and Work Places includes a clause that restricts business owners from making more than 25 percent of any outdoor seating area a smoking area, but also allows owners to designate the entire area non-smoking.
Christopher Heine at Ad Week claims there’s been an online movement from Starbucks consumers calling for the newly revealed policy since at least 2009.
“But restricting outside smoking will certainly alienate some Starbucks customers. Although that set likely doesn’t reside in New York where citizens have gotten used to restrictions on smoking at public parks and beaches.”