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Starbucks Smoking: Retail Store Bans Cigarettes Within 25-Feet of Their Premises

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Jun 02, 2013 03:06 PM EDT

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Many think of coffee and cigarettes together, but for those who buy their coffee at Starbucks, that pairing will no longer work as Starbucks has banned smoking within 25 feet of its store where ever local law allows the ban, according to FOX News. Electronic cigarettes are included in the ban.

The new policy went into effect on June 1, banning smoking on Starbucks patios and storefronts, as well as in the store itself at every Starbucks in the U.S. and Canada.

Many states and local jurisdictions already ban smoking in public places and according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 81.3 percent of Americans already live under some form of a smoking ban.

Starbucks will be the first major retail chain to enforce a policy for an issue that has usually been addressed by the state, according to Cynthia Hallett, the executive director of American nonsmoker's Rights.

"Starbucks is the first chain to go smoke-free on its patios," Hallett said. The retail store tested the policy in California in June 2010 when it enacted a 25-foot rule that went beyond the 15-foot rule set by the state of California.

In states that allow smoking on the street, Starbucks can't enforce the rule. However, Hallett says that in states where there where there are no current laws that prevent smoking outside, Starbucks' policy will still go into effect.

"It's huge," she said. "What Starbucks is doing differently, by banning smoking outside and on the patio, is showing leadership."

Not everyone agrees with Hallett on that sentiment, and some customers have expressed their displeasure on social media.

"I am now boycotting Starbucks!!!" wrote a Twitter user. "They have banned smoking within 25ft if their entrance!"

Sean Cummings, a hotelier who runs the International House in New Orleans, enacted a similar policy at his hotel in 2006, two years prior to Louisiana enacting any anti-smoking legislation.

"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," Cummings said, calling the decision a "no brainer."

Starbucks is also currently involved in a court proceeding in New York to determine what employees are entitled to money left in the tip jars.

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