News Column

Starbucks to Prohibit Smoking Outside Cafes

May 31, 2013

Starbucks is breaking up the love affair between smokers and their joe.

The classic pairing of coffee and cigarettes will be no more at the java giant, which beginning June 1 will prohibit anyone up to 25 feet from a Starbucks store from lighting up.

The Seattle giant already bans smoking inside its cafes. But spokeswoman Jaime Riley said the expanded rule stems from "a sense of responsibility to provide customers with a safe and healthy environment."

The new decree applies to all 7,000 company-owned stores within the U.S. and Canada, regardless of whether the cafes feature outdoor seating. Some 4,000 other Starbucks locations -- including licensed shops located within retailers such as Target and Barnes & Noble -- are exempt.

And the 25-feet smoke-free radius is flexible based on each store's lease size, Riley said. If Starbucks-controlled property only extends 15 feet from a particular store's exterior, then smokers outside the area are free to puff away if local law allows.

In some states and municipalities which already restrict smoking space, Starbucks' new policy will face little blowback. In Los Angeles, it's illegal to smoke in outdoor dining areas, near food carts and trucks and on beaches. Cities such as Burbank, Calabasas and Santa Monica also have similar regulations in place.

"We're pretty optimistic that people will be supportive and at the very least cooperative," Riley said.

As for customers who continue to smoke on Starbucks property after Saturday?

"We are confident that we can resolve any concern amicably," Riley said.



Source: (c)2013 the Los Angeles Times Distributed by MCT Information Services