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Reaction mixed to smoking ban on Starbucks' patios


Published:   |   Updated: June 11, 2013 at 02:10 PM

Coffee and smoking no longer go together. At least not at Starbucks.

As of June 1, Starbucks banned smoking in its patio areas outside of stores, said Jaime Riley, Starbucks spokeswoman.

"We take seriously our responsibility to provide all customers a safe, healthy environment that is consistent across our company-owned stores," she said.

The policy was implemented in the 7,000 company-owned stores across the United States and Canada.

Licensed stores do not have to apply the policy. Also, there are no current plans to expand the policy to other countries, Riley said.

Signs have been posted in all Starbucks stores, letting customers know they are not allowed to smoke on the patios or within 25 feet of the door.

Employees will be in charge of telling smoking customers they are not allowed in the coffee shop's patio.

The policy has been well received so far, Riley said.

"We're pretty optimistic that customers will be supportive and positive," she said.

Tampa resident Catherine McDonough frequently visits the Starbucks at 1600 W. Kennedy Blvd. and said she thought the policy was great because it makes the shop a cleaner and safer area.

On the other hand, smoker Brett Sams said he wouldn't like it if an employee told him he couldn't smoke outside the store.

"I think if you're outside you should be able to do it," he said.

Riley said the policy should not affect sales but a smoker in front of Starbucks this week said he hasn't been frequenting the coffee shop as much since the ban.

The smoker, who declined to give his name, said he will take his business to smoker-friendly coffee shops, such as Felicitous Coffee & Tea, 11706 N. 51st St.

Smoking is still permitted outside Felicitous just not near the entrance, said manager Britani Farley.

Starbucks isn't the only coffee shop in the Tampa Bay area with a no-smoking policy.

Indigo Trading Co. in downtown Tampa has had a no-smoking policy in the outside patio area since it opened, the shop's manager said.

acarroz@tampatrib.com

Twitter: @andrea_carroz

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