I always laugh at old movies that show people smoking cigarettes on planes or in doctor’s offices. How crazy that such a hazardous behavior was once so common. I’m eternally grateful to have been born in the time when cigarette companies were forbidden from covering up the nasty truth about their addictive product.
In recent years, it’s become obvious that just knowing the truth about cigarettes isn’t enough to stop people from using them. So local governments are trying a different approach: smoking bans. Officials and smoke-free advocates hope that maybe isolation and the threat of a fine will be more effective than, you know, plain old common sense.
Here are five surprising places where lighting up a cigarette will land you in hot water:
Effective June 1, smoking is no longer allowed within 25 feet of the entrance of any Starbucks location. The ban covers all Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada, affecting about 7,000 retail stores. “Starbucks takes pride in providing a comfortable environment at our stores where customers and members of the community gather,” the company said in a statement released to the Huffington Post. “We always value our customers feedback, and we take seriously our responsibility to provide all customers a safe, healthy environment that is consistent across our company-owned stores.” (Although in the UK at least, that statement doesn’t appear to include the ice machine. Yikes!).
2. Bars & Restaurants
When I got my first job waiting tables, the restaurant had smoking and non-smoking sections (hilariously, there were no walls or doors separating the sections, they were just on different sides of the same big room). In 28 U.S. states, however, such divisions no longer exist, as smoking has been banned in all enclosed public places, including all bars and restaurants.
3. Public Parks
Smokers are a determined bunch. I always found it amusing to see someone riding their bike or walking through the park with a lit cigarette. Talk about counter-productive. Now, there are a number of places where just being outside isn’t a good enough excuse to exhale carcinogens into the general atmosphere. According to this article from Christian Science Monitor, almost 500 cities, counties and towns have banned smoking in public parks, including Chicago, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Ah the beach. There’s nothing like the sun in your hair, sea breezes on your face, and…the feel of spent cigarette butts poking up through the sand between your toes. Something about the presence of so much sand seems to make smokers think the world is their ashtray. Thankfully, several cities have stepped up to ensure that beach goers don’t have to feel like they’re vacationing in someone else’s trash can. In 2012, residents of the City of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina voted to declare the beach as a non-smoking zone. A similar ban was just enacted in Dewey Beach, Delaware. In 2010, the California Legislature approved a bill to outlaw smoking at 278 state parks and beaches, and similar laws exist in many other states. (Check out this PDF from No-Smoke.org for a full list of smoke-free beaches broken down by city and state.)
5. Your Own House
In 2011, Laguna Woods became the first city in Orange County to make it illegal to have a cigarette on your home patio or balcony. Those patios that were enclosed and could be completely shut off from the outdoors were an exception, but that’s a pretty terrible use of an outdoor room if you ask me. More recently, the City of Elk Grove, California started toying with the idea of a straight up ban on indoor smoking in apartment homes. Some residents and rental associations see it as an invasion of privacy, although it’s already common for landlords to prohibit smoking in rentals for safety and aesthetic reasons.
Image via Thinkstock
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