As of this morning, customers will no longer be able to enjoy coffee and a cigarette at their local Starbucks, even if they're sitting outside when they partake. The coffee giant said Thursday that as of June 1, 2013, smoking would not be allowed within 25 feet of its stores or in its outdoor seating areas.
"Smoking will be restricted within 25 feet of all stores and within company-owned outdoor seating areas," a spokesperson confirmed to AdWeek, which says an online petition has been exhorting Starbucks to adopt this policy since 2009. Nobody really wants to have to hold their breath through a cloud of secondhand smoke every time they want to get a cup of coffee, so many nonsmokers are pleased with the new development.
"It makes for a better environment because a lot of people go to Starbucks and drink their coffee, too, especially on a pretty day like this," said Jacksonville resident Meredith Robinson, who told News 4 Jacksonville that she is looking forward to being able to enjoy the outdoor patio at her local Starbucks without having to deal with all the cigarette smoke.
Others, of course, are highly displeased by the new rule.
"I think for them to stop that is a conflict between the two," said Charli Dirani. "Everybody knows coffee and cigarettes go hand-in-hand."
Dirani told News 4 that he thought Starbucks would be losing money by excluding smokers like him, but some restaurants have found that by banning smokers they've actually increased business. Smokers who want coffee will still come in for their caffeine fix and just get their nicotine later, while nonsmokers were more eager to enter and hang out at a place that doesn't smell like cigarette smoke.
In addition to banning smoking in outdoor areas and near store windows and entrances, Starbucks also announced that electronic cigarettes have also been banned across the chain as of this weekend.