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July 26, 2009


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In my town it's illegal to smoke near the entrance to a place that sells food. So, we don't get smokers. Which is weird because even though I'm generally a non-smoker, I LOVE the smell. Not even kidding!
I had to confront a smoker once and tell him it was illegal to smoke in front of the door to our store. A customer had asked me to warn him about the law. It was really uncomfortable. But... that's what I get paid for, right?
I've worked with a lot of smokers before, and they always would ask for extra smoke breaks, it drove me crazy! But working for Starbucks, all the smokers I work with handle it well.

Christy Z.

It's illegal here too within 60 feet of the door, but who is going to enforce it? Nothing irks me more than having to sacrifice a lung to enjoy a sunny patio.


Coffee and cigarettes go together like peanut butter & jelly, or like cookies & milk. Starbucks would be fools to ban it outright. It would result in too many unhappy customers and unhappy baristas.

This guy needs to get over it.

Not to mention, how does a business so closely tied to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure (breast cancer), reconcile allowing smoking at their stores?

Yes, because everyone knows that breast cancer is commonly caused by inhalation of smoke in and around the entrances of fast food eateries.

Coffee and caffeine itself can contain carcinogens and/or promote cancer growth. So maybe Starbucks should just cease operations and donate all its assets to Breast Cancer Awareness.

happy smoker

As a smoker, I think all of these laws are ridiculous...shit we are already outside for peets sakes. If we smoke outside of the patio, we are only a couple feet away anyway. Stick your vegan,soy milk drinking,oh I'm so healthy attitude where the sun dosen't shine.Driving your huge SUV with that cell phone to your ear will kill you long before second hand smoke.

Jack Smash

Sorry smokers; if you smoke, you're in the wrong - get used to it.


In WA State. No smoking within 25 feet or any door or window opening!


Happysmoker, it isn't about my health. It's the fact that you stink, your smoke stinks and your right to enjoy yourself doing something ends when it impacts my right to enjoy myself just existing.

If I could rip broccoli farts on demand over and over while sitting next to you then maybe it would be a fair exchange.

Seriously junkie find a back alley to get your fix or buy a smokeless cigarette. Then you get to satisfy your need to have a cylinder in your mouth, you get your nicotine and I don't have to go home smelling like the day after a house fire.


People need to get over themselves big time. Smokers are treated like the scum of the earth in this society. Coffee and cigarettes is an all-time classic pairing. Sometimes when I'm out of smokes I think to myself "Starbucks could make a killing selling cigs." Smokers can't sit inside and smoke most anywhere so where do you propose they go? Smokers have been accommodating to non-smokers by giving them the inside of most buildings. If we are to have a free society we need to allow people the ability to make self-regarding actions and disallow any sort parental laws or practices such as this one.
@Jack Smash- So what if they are in the wrong? It's our right to be wrong. I think people who feel the need to dress provocatively in public are in the wrong too, but I recognize the larger importance of letting people make their own decisions. In anticipation of what some might point out, I fully understand that looking at a distastefully dressed person does not do any harm me physically and that inhaling cigarette smoke does but the larger idea is that there are sacrifices to be made in an open society. There is an alarming trend in this country to sacrifice personal liberty in the name of things like health or safety as if they are incompatible. I hope that Starbucks realizes the degree to which smokers are marginalized in this country and knows that for a large amount of people the third place atmosphere includes a cigarette, just as for another large group of people it includes a smoke free environment. They currently accommodate both groups by having non-smoking indoor cafes and allow smoking where legal. There is no change needed and we as a society cannot let personal liberty go by the wayside.


Don't get me wrong, I hate smoking, I hate that my boyfriend smokes. It is the BIGGEST problem in our relationship. But the amount of intolerance for smoking is ridiculous, especially within these comments. Smoking is not nearly as harmful as the public seems to think, and these comments are just another example of how people need to calm down and complain about something that really matters.
Plenty of coworkers and regulars smoke outside the Starbucks and I never see any problem with it. But perhaps we're just lucky enough to have a big enough patio for it.


Our store has a large patio and it is usually full 12 months a year. (we live in the south and southerners smoke). Anyway, about a year ago, the SM decided to enforce the no smoking law within 15 feet of the door which only allowed one table for smokers because the doors sat right in the middle. SM is a serious anti smoker guy. Anyway, customers complained and called the DM and filled out nasty voice surveys. He held strong and didn't allow smoking.
Within 2 months, our daily sales dropped so drastically, he removed all the "no smoking" signs and bought new ashtrays. When the occassional former customer came in, he bought their drink, apologised for the smoking misunderstanding and invited them to sit on the patio to enjoy their free beverage with a cigarette.


Maybe we should replace breakfast pairings with a 'Coffee and Cigarette' pairing...It could really turn things around for us.


As a barista and a smoker, i personally never had a complaint about my smoking on the patio. We have a rather small patio and i always encourage our smoking customers to move as far away from the door as possible, but i agree that this is ridiculous. Coffee and Cigarettes go great together. Another thing i would like to bring up is Starbucks has a policy that if you step outside of Starbucks property you can no longer give customers the refill discount. So if we are supposed to kick people out for smoking wouldn't it be unfair because non smokers would be getting a privilege that smokers cant get.


A lot of people smoke outside the starbucks i go to, which makes sense, as they are outside where they should be! I mean I know smoking is awful, but how much farther away can we push people? I'm very happy just to have a smoke free indoors. That's a big change from restaurants from when I was a kid, and I'm only 26. I can remember smoking/non-smoking sections of restaurants and international airplanes, and of course you could always smell the smoke in the non-smoking sections.

Actually most of the people who smoke outside are baristas on breaks. I admit like one of the previous posters, never puffed a single cig in my life, but I do like walking by the smell.


I'm a smoker, but never sit in Starbucks anyways - just take it and go. I don't dispute that my smoking is bad for me, but the studies on second-hand smoke aren't all that convincing. Eating meat causes all kinds of health problems, as well as alcohol. Where does it all stop?


Marcus, I am 20 years older than you. I remember smoking in any airplane, in any office or building, inside malls, inside houses and even inside stores at the mall. There was no such thing as "non smoking areas".
I prefer not to smell much smoke but we as a country have created such negativity about it that we are alienating one of the countries biggest resources. TOURISTS. Reality is: Asians smoke. Europeans smoke. And they are taking their billions of tourist dollars elsewhere.

Barista Ben

We have a no smoking city ordinance that we are required to adhere to. People tend to get really pissed off when I have to tell them you can't smoke within something like 50 feet of a patio. I didn't make the law. Down the way a bit it's illegal to smoke anywhere in public, which I think is a bit much.


As a shift up in Canada, I personally couldn't care less about second hand smoke, but cigarettes stink. And not just when they're being smoked....the smell is lingering and gets stuck in air vents and leaves residue.

In general, really smelly things should be kept private, I think.
Would you intentionally submit those around you to yourself if you had food poisoning or something?

The smell is equally as disgusting...how difficult is it to walk to your car in the parking lot and smoke there?
As well, if you do so you have removed yourself from the view of any impressionable children sitting on the patio...


I don't smoke. I enjoy calisthentics, weightlifting, tossing the frisbee, eating sushi, roller blading, gardening, working on cars. driving way to fast, walking around named woodworking (though not all at the same time.

I don't do any of these things at Starbucks. Why? because I respect other people and don;t feel the need to bring my habits into a coffee shop where it will disturb everyone else.

Other than the inability to control their addiction, there is no difference between my hobbies and the smokers hobby of igniting poison; sucking it into their lungs; and exhaling for the rest of us to consume.

Bearded Barista

I honestly dont mind people smoking on the patio, as long as they arent close to the door. I dont want smoke in my store. My biggest problem with it is people leaving their butts on the ground.


its not true that starbucks allow customers to smoke outside our store. it is actually a policy that starbucks store are non smoking area esp outside. for my store, we have no smoking stickers outside our windows and also a no smoking sign nailed on our table outside (cuz we have wooden tables). other store should implement that too.

its also a law in california that smokers are not allowed to smoke within 10 feet of retail stores.

Voice of Reason!

Smoking smells the patio up and the butts that self entitled smokers through all over the place makes it look like a dump. For you smokers who believe second hand smoke isn’t an important issue you apparently don’t have lung problems yet, but you will. For those who do have lung problems, just walking through your smoke could start a problem that could result in a trip to the ER. Your supposable right to smoke should end when someone’s right to breath is threatened. I’m all in favor of Starbucks no smoking patios. In fact it should be illegal to smoke in any public place outside or inside. I’m also in favor of a 100% tax hike on cigarettes every year, compounded. If you want to kill yourself, pollute the environment, and add to my health care bill, you should pay the price. Besides, who doesn’t look like a moron with a cigarette in their hand or mouth?


Voice of Reason!

Totally. People that eat fatty foods should also have to pay 100 times the taxes because the health care system is being stretched by their futures diabetes, heart disease and organ failure. Do you also think that people who shop at Wal-Mart should be charged as accessories under human rights laws? I hear it sucks to work at third world sweatshops. And as another poster suggested, all Starbucks stores should be closed down because coffee and caffeine can be carcinogens!

Pretty much it should be illegal to do anything that isn't 100% acceptable (by your standards, of course).

The Tick

Smoking doesn't bother me as much as the litter left behind when their butts are tossed and smashed out on the ground or into the landscaping. This is even with ashtrays provided on the patio. A couple of times a day you have to go out and sweep up all over the lot due to this. What's funny is that out of all that litter there is usually just 1 straw wrapper thrown on the ground. Do people that smoke just think that their cig butts are not an unsightly bit of trash when cast aside?


Where I live in Ontario, this kind of thing is enforced by by-law. Does someone really think they're more powerful than municipal/state law?


Spence, I too remember smoking sections of airplanes and restaurants, and when smoking was common in offices and buildings. Given the claws that the Siren has on me, I have some sympathy for smokers. There are times I think I understand addiction, and if you smoke you have to stand somewhere. Better outside than inside.

WaBuxMan is right that in Washington State you can't smoke within 25 feet of a door or open window. RCW 70.160.075.


Dear Richard, hyperbole much? Your comparisons are terrible. Fat people don't make the air unpleasant to breath (generally except maybe broccoli farts), they don't don't carry the stench of a cheeseburger with them everywhere they go making an area smell and generally fat people don't just drop their cheeseburger wrappers wherever they are when they finish.

It is amazing the level of self entitlement you junkies have. I don't want to have to breathe the clouds you emit just trying to pass you to get in a building and it's me infringing on your personal liberties? You have every right to stink and exhale poisonous fumes until you infringe on my right now to. It's unfortunate that you are so wrapped up in your needs that you can't see how much you effect those around you.

Voice of Reason!

All addicts are looking for enablers to help them continue their addiction. It’s actually compassionate to STOP the enabling and put consequences to behaviors that are detrimental to society. I believe it’s called “tough love”. I’m all for making smoking as difficult as possible for everyone, everywhere. That’s how we can spread the love. Addicts don’t usually understand this until they are years into their recovery, and that type of thinking is part of their addiction (so is anger out of comments like these).


I am a non-smoker, have never puffed a single cigarette. I do not like the smoke, or the smell.

There are courteous and rude smokers as well as non-smokers. The couretous would say "please" and Thank you" while the rude would be arrogant about their rights. It is the rude and arrogant that have been driving this debate.

The connection between second-hand smoke and ALL the claims the "activists" have been saying is tenuous and minimal at best. The product is legal. Drinking is legal. Many things that infringe someone else's "assumed" rights are legal where and when they are consumed or performed.

Smoking, drinking, and many other adult vices have been used as a political punching bag by certain people that want to control your behavior. This is nothing but propoganda. Remember Hitler was a vegan, non-smooker, non-drinker. He was fordcing his views on the people just like PETA, Center for Science in the Public Interest and others are now doing.

marlboro "junkie" HA!

Get over yourself dude..I am not a "junkie." Just because you don't smoke, doesn't mean that others should not be able to. Talk about arrogance; "I don't choose to live this lifestyle, but you are wrong to live the way you choose." If I choose to smoke that is my choice, I pay the ridiculous taxes for it. I can no longer smoke pretty much anywhere else, butt give me a break..IT IS OUTSIDE. iF YOU DON'T LIKE IT WALK AWAY.


We have a very loyal group of regulars at my store, all of whom smoke. We asked them to smoke as far away as possible from the front door, and they kindly obliged.

Except for this one guy who smokes a big stinky cigar right near the entrance. That's where I draw the line. Cigar smoke makes me nauseous. He knows we can't enforce chasing him away from the front at all times, as we're busy inside.

Hopefully we can convince him to move away when he has his cigar. It reeks so strongly we can smell it every time the door opens!

Voice of Reason!

Addict nerve hit! Very predictable aren’t they.

Dobbs Fox

I wonder which north side Chicago Starbucks he's talking about. At the one I frequent, there's a sign posted that says it's illegal to smoke within 15 feet of the entrance, which I thought was the same across the city.


Voice of Reason!

Who knew that being condescending towards people and making fun of them would make them react. You've really shown your superiority now.


I honestly dont mind people smoking on the patio, as long as they arent close to the door. I dont want smoke in my store. My biggest problem with it is people leaving their butts on the ground.

Posted by: Bearded Barista | July 26, 2009 at 10:50 PM

I am totally with you on that. I am not a smoker but most of my friends and family is.


"Addict nerve hit! Very predictable aren’t they."

rofl... who is this rob reiner trolling a starbucks 'gossip' website?

Watch the southpark episode about smoking, season 7 I think, it should clear alot of this up.

I seriously started laughing when I read that... I mean its smoke, what are you gonna do about it? Would you go up to a giant smoke stack attached to a factory and bitch about it? That seems to be making a lot more pollution than a couple of people smoking tobacco. Up farther, someone was like... "If I have a lung condition and I walk through your smoke I might have to go to the ER!" Are you freaking kidding me? Maybe you shouldn't even go outside anymore, if you potentially might end up in an ER, seriously, get over yourself.


I won't let anyone smoke near the entrance to my store but since our patio is large people have many options as to where they want to sit. I also order ashtrays through my RP order so as to keep my patio deck clean. Smoking is legal outside. If people want to do it more power to them. If not I respect that as well. I have no problem with private businesses dictating where people can or cannot smoke but my patio is maintained by the property management company (not starbucks) so it's their call whether or not they want smoking or no smoking.

Many of the same people who are railing against smoking are buying their 3 venti extra caramel frapps with extra everything daily...because they're the barometer of "health". :) It should be up to the building management people...it SHOULD NOT be a Starbucks policy.


It's true that MAYBE massive amounts of second hand smoke can hurt a non-smoker. It's also true that thousands of people a year die due to drivers who were drunk(even though)they felt fine. Or killed by drivers who were high or on their cell phone.
When they shut down the bars, end pot in the US and outlaw cell phones, I'll stop smoking on the patio.
just saying. . . I think some of you are just a little too full of yourself and thinking that you don't leave a mark on this world that could hurt others.

Voice of Reason!

Go ahead and smoke. Be a joke. Paying all that money to perform a senseless act and then having the stupidity to defend it really shows you’re powerless over a silly little leaf. I know it makes you feel better about yourself which only goes to prove your extreme self loathing. It will only get harder and harder for all you smokers as new laws pass and more people and companies realize smokers aren’t the type of customers, friends, or partners they desire. It’s already happening. Try to stop it. Be counter cultural. It’s all futile and with a bit of maturity you’ll all realize how wrong you were. So smoke them if you got them. Your time is limited by society’s laws and your own health. It will end one way or another.


No win to this argument. I don't give a rat's behind if someone smokes, but I should not have to walk through it to get to my destination. And please, stop throwing cigarette butts all over the ground, it makes you seem ignorant and inconsiderate. That being said, smoke up! Just N.I.M.B.Y! A great economic stimulus would be to tax cigarettes 100%, and put that money towards the national debt, or unemployment, or towards the health care of nonsmokers.
Hey, more social security to me when I live to be a ripe old age!!!


Voice, I appreciate the correct use of you're.


" Fat people don't make the air unpleasant to breath (generally except maybe broccoli farts)"
no but they make my seating uncomfortable on an airplane. outlaw fried chicken and donuts.

"generally fat people don't just drop their cheeseburger wrappers wherever they are when they finish."

so when you see those cheeseburger wrappers on the ground where do you think they come from? not every fat person, but i'll be damned if fat people don't do it too.

" I don't want to have to breathe the clouds you emit just trying to pass you to get in a building and it's me infringing on your personal liberties?"

and since you workout, when you go into a convience store to buy your water afterwards i don't want to see or smell your sweaty, nasty clothes or anybody elses when you go to grab a bottle of water.

"You have every right to stink and exhale poisonous fumes until you infringe on my right now to. It's unfortunate that you are so wrapped up in your needs that you can't see how much you effect those around you."

and it's unfortunate that you can't see the loss of personal liberties like this WILL effect you. smoking started it, transfats were next, alcohol is after that, red meat, my choices have nothing to do with you, and yours have nothing to do to me. you do not have the right to not be offended by anything. you let your own personal freedoms erode, we smokers conceded everything we should of to make your lives better. we pay luxury taxes for this right and your taking our legal product for our own use away. outside your right is to walk away from the dangerous smoke and walk into the smog from the car you drive, or just sit in it and breathe the methane that comes from your own mouth. or you can go inside where there isn't any smoke at all.

it all ends with if you don't like something walk away from it. if you don't like something on tv, turn it off. if you don't like something someone is doing, get away from them. the 3 seconds you take to walk past a smoker will not give you lung cancer or emphysema. lifes tough for us all, get a helmet.
oh and calling people junkies, that's great, Jesus, because you must have no sins, or flaws.


Let's just have the Government ban tobacco and make it illegal to possess. That would stop all of the 'tobacco subsidies' that the govt. is paying farmers to plant it. Banning it would also stop the SCHIP program that is funded by taxing tobacco.
Get over the smoking thing, If it offends you that much, stay home.


I smoke. I don't have any issues with "self-loathing" nor do I deal with any of the other issues that "voice of reason" speaks of. I smoke because I choose to. I also usually end up smoking next to the trash can behind my store so as to not offend anyone...all while i'm doing something LEGAL. I am merely lighting the end result of a crop widely subsidized by our federal government. Would I smoke around kids? No. Would I smoke in front of my Starbucks? No. But...that is My choice. You generalize and thus it makes you look even more stupid and irrational. If people want to smoke they are more than welcome to. If they don't then that is their choice. But, if YOU begin deciding what is right for ME then our country is well beyond saving. You aren't my "keeper" nor are you my "nanny". Leave the smokers to their cigarettes and we'll leave you to your own.

Voice of Reason!

Hiding behind a trash can, behind a Starbucks, having a smoke… The self adoration brings a tear to my eye. You should be proud.


I agree that smoking is a bad choice, but there are worse things on your patio to bitch about.
How about the cud-chewing patrons that have thier gum totally gone by the time that thier drink shows up? Where did the gum go?? On the patio, under the tables, in the floor mats. Look at the drive-thru area. It looks horrible!! Look under the tables in your stores.
I, personally, do not like walking on a piece of used gum and tracking it all over, much less digging it out of my shoes. Butts can be swept up, but how about gum?? Ever try to clean up that unhealthy mess on a 100 degree day?
Those that chew gum should have to stand in a sand lot so as not to make a mess on the patio. Lets see if we can get gum chewing banned from the stores also.

Voice of Reason!


I agree about the gum, another truly classy practice. However, smoking is only a choice at the beginning. After a while, like any highly addictive substance, the choice is gone. Tobacco owns you. Addiction takes over and changes an individual’s ability to see things in reality. One thinks they have a choice or they can stop (we’ve heard some of that here), but they can’t, at least not without a great deal of effort, pain, and suffering. Some will never be able to quit. They also can’t see how distasteful their behavior is, or how intrusive it is on others. They feel wronged when someone asks them to move or not smoke around them. They feel threatened when someone restricts their ability to do as they wish, without regard for anyone else’s wellbeing. They can also feel ashamed of their habit (“Would I smoke around kids? No. Would I smoke in front of my Starbucks? No.”), all the while defending it as a choice or their right to do it because their “responsible” smokers. Oh, then there is the legality defense, as if every behavior that is legal is a good thing. It’s legal because it’s been around before we understood the hazards. If it was just discovered today it would never gain legal status. It’s sad when people become addicted to a substance. It’s so devastating to an ordinarily healthy person and the people they inflict it on. It changes them totally and they are always the last ones to see it.

I’m sure I’ve angered many smokers here, possibly others too. Hopefully you’ll look at the reasons you got angry. Get some help before it’s too late. The only one that can do anything about your predicament is you.


Voice of Reason:
I am not angry, and do not need any therapy.
Personally, your posts make you out to be a snivilly, whiny little liberal that thinks that everything has to be your way, or you will tell us how it is to be. Right?


Voice of Reason:
It's pretty ironic that you are so utterly against addiction yet you work at Starbucks, also known as America's Favourite Drug dealer. Caffeine is an addictive substance, extremely widespread and one of the only psychoactive substances that remains unregulated nearly everywhere. Recent studies have shown that consuming coffee can weaken bones, create anxiety and sleep issues in those that consume it, and that it can more than double the risk of miscarriage in women. Take into account the pastries that Starbucks sells, and it's a veritable house of vices, just look at the pastries.

Humans are programmed to consume high fat and sweet products in nature, which is why we love juicy steaks, cakes and candy. Thousands of years ago, the only fats that people would get in their diets would be from the animals they were able to hunt and kill, while the real processed sugar humans would consume would be the honey of bees. Now, the American diet is LOADED with fatty and sweet foods. Excess of these foods are EXTREMELY unhealthy. Our bodies are not meant to consume them in high quantities which is why they become toxic and cause diseases. Cardiovascular disease and adult onset diabetes are 2 of the biggest killers of Americans.

My question to you is this; How can you be so high above us all and sneer at us for smoking, yet work for a company that helps facilitate the most unhealthy and harmful diet in human history? Don't you feel like you're just causing another child to lose their father to a heart attack every time you upset an extremely unhealthy pastry?

Maybe when you're a vegan farmer that grows his own organic food, doesn't use fire or electricity, and doesn't have a car, you can act like you're so much better than the rest of us.


I smoke, you don't like it, blow me :0 I pay just as much taxes to not be discriminated on because I'm a smoker.

And if you are rude enough to approach me with your B.S. about smoking, be warned...when you play with FIRE you WILL get BurnT


"I’m sure I’ve angered many smokers here, possibly others too. Hopefully you’ll look at the reasons you got angry. Get some help before it’s too late. The only one that can do anything about your predicament is you."

Says the person trolling a website, complaining about smoking, outside a starbucks.

Maybe you have a problem?

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