June 3, 2010 - Starting Monday, June 7th Starbucks customers are welcome to sit outside and sip a while — as long as they don't light up. The international coffee giant is extending its ban on indoor smoking to outdoor patios and dining areas in California.
The change was prompted by an increasing number of communities that have enacted smoking prohibitions in outdoor dining areas. Mid-Valley smokers say they are disappointed by the rule but understand its purpose.
Brian Roberts, 33, was enjoying a cigarette with his venti coffee Wednesday, June 2nd while reading a paperback at the Marysville Starbucks. He's not thrilled with the new rule, but said it was to be expected. "It's nothing new in California," the Marysville resident said. "You go down to the East Bay and Pleasanton and you can't smoke anywhere outside." But the rule might spur a slight decline in business, he said.
Live Oak resident Courtney Williams works at the Togo's next door to the Starbucks on Colusa Avenue. She spends all her breaks at one of the tables outside the coffeeshop, stealing a quick smoke or two before she goes back to work. Even though it means she'll need to find a new smoking spot, she doesn't mind the new rule, she said. "I think businesses or any place anyone owns has the right to say no smoking," she said. "I don't believe I have the right to smoke anywhere."
With Mother Nature hinting this week at the summer weather to come, Yuba City residents Bill and Roberta Fox are looking forward to afternoons on Starbucks patios with good books and icy drinks. They were relieved to learn the cigarette smoke that had marred previous experiences should no longer be a problem. "A lot of times we have to get up and go home because she has asthma," Bill Fox said of his wife. "And I know people have their rights, but my mother died of second-hand smoke."
Reference: Starbucks snuffing out smoking outdoors, appeal-democrat.com, 6/3/2010.