For smokers, a hot cup of coffee and a cigarette seem to be a match made in heaven, but if you prefer your coffee from Starbucks, you will have to take a walk before you can enjoy a cigarette. As of June 1, Starbucks has banned smoking within 25 feet of entrances in U.S. and Canada stores.
Starbucks has always banned smoking inside and on their patios, but they never bothered smokers as long as they were outside of these areas. Now smokers will have to move farther away to light up thanks to the brand new ban. Some reports suggest that Starbucks is implementing the new policy to prevent nonsmoking customers from being offended by second hand smoke nearby. While smokers previously stood near the patio in the parking area or on the sidewalk, this put them in close proximity to other customers that might not appreciate the second hand smoke.
Curiously, electronic cigarettes are included in the ban and they are completely smoke free. With only an odorless water based vapor, electronic cigarettes do not pose the same risk or inconvenience to nearby nonsmokers, so why are they banned?
Smoking bans have become increasingly common in the United States, but most of the time these policies only apply to indoor spaces. While some colleges, parks, and hospitals have made rules against smoking anywhere on the property, most public retailers don’t implement any kind of outdoor smoking ban that would detract from potential business.
When asked about the bans, Starbucks issued the following statement to The Huffington Post: “Starbucks takes pride in providing a comfortable environment at our stores where customers and members of the community gather. We always value our customers’ feedback, and we take seriously our responsibility to provide al customers a safe, healthy environment that is consistent across our company-owned stores. We sincerely thank all customers for their support and cooperation.”
Starbucks is currently the largest coffee empire in the world with over 18,000 retail locations scattered across 60 countries. For the loyal Starbucks fans that regularly grab a latte on the way to work, this new policy will either be heartily embraced or completely despised. Nonsmokers might be happy to avoid second hand smoke while sipping coffee on the patios, but smokers will have to take their coffee to go if they want to sip it while enjoying a cigarette.
Perhaps the most offended group will be the e-cig users. Like tobacco smokers, they will also be inconvenienced by the ban despite the fact that they are not tobacco users and their habit doesn’t cause any risk or harm to others. What do you think of Starbucks’ new policy? Will it change how often you frequent your local Starbucks?