Smoking Banned At Starbucks, and 4 More Surprising Places

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.

It shocks me to see how many people still smoke. Even with the warning labels and full knowledge of smoking’s direct connection to cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

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:

1. Starbucks

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.

4. Beaches

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 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


Past Member 3 years ago

electronic cigarettes
There is good collection of the articles with informative stuff.

Curtis P.
Kirk P4 years ago

I just wanted all you smokers out there to know that I fully support your right to smoke in all public places and in the close vicinity of others. In return, I'm sure you will respect my right to fart in public and in the close vicinity of others. After all, since farting does not affect the health of others and actually smells better than the noxious fumes of smokers, I'm hopeful that you will welcome me and others like me into your world of the proud, but stinky!

Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago

Get out!

Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago

Get out!

Marc P.
Marc P4 years ago

Ryan B.: The only thing that really stinks is your holier-than-thou attitude. No one invited you to get close enough to smell me so keep your nose out of my rectum! I am glad you don't like the way cigarette smoke smells on me. Smoking DOES have a benefit! It is asshole repellent! As for your completely uneducated and idiotic comment " I would saw democracy wins out here. Majority rules." I hate to tell you (Not really...) but the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution specifically so that the Rights of the many would not trample the Rights of the few. You ever wonder how YOU smell? I can smell the stink of your Fascist ideologies from here.

Ryan B.
Ryan B4 years ago

I sure hope taking smokers rights away does away with the whole practice of smoking. You are all disgusting. You smell, your clothes smell. Your skin is yellow as are your teeth. Oh, did I mention you stink? Yes, you all have a right to smoke. But, I have a right to not be able to smell you or your smoke. So, whose right trumps whose? I would saw democracy wins out here. Majority rules. More non-smokers in the world than smokers so take your childish habit and sit in your car or home where you can wallow in it. Please take a shower and change your clothes before you come out though. Thanks a bunch.

Paulett Simunich
Paulett Simunich4 years ago

Today, there are numerous aids to help people stop smoking. Stopping smoking is easier than you may think. There is a wonderful life waiting for you.....without cigarettes.!!!!!!

leo F.
leo L4 years ago

Smoking doesn't kill people, it's cancer that kills people. That is why people who don't smoke still get cancer because they are genetically prone to the disease. Which is also why some life-long smokers never get sick because they are not susceptible to said disease.

Now, for anyone to say smoking is a filthy habit, maybe you should take a good look at yourself and tell us how pristine your lifestyle is? Doing a quick glance at those who opposed the act of smoking completely. I can clearly say the size of your clothes and waistlines are also good indicators of your filthy habits. Maybe you need to balance all that bad cholesterol with some nicotine?

Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Ellen Gaston
Ellen Gaston4 years ago

Smokers are discriminated against because people enjoy feeling self-righteous. Banning smoking outside or in your own home is nothing but a bunch of heavy-handed bullshit. Some places won't even let you vape, which has no effect whatsoever on anybody. If they cared so much about people's health they would allow vaping. What about dipping? Cigars? Yet pot is being made legal. Smokers obese people, Christians, Conservatives and white males are the only groups that it is politicaly correct to persecute. I prefer freedom. It is slipping away.