Tarin To took a drag on her cigarette, grimacing with annoyance when droplets falling from a Starbucks patio overhang blew onto her face.
She likes to smoke while on vacation, and the self-described entrepreneur was trying to enjoy her time away from Chicago during a sunny break in the rainy weather Friday as she waited to meet someone at the CityPlace store.
It's the last day she and other smokers will be able to puff on a Starbucks patio. Starting Saturday, the coffeehouse chain will ban smoking within 25 feet of its company-owned U.S. and Canadian stores.
The previous smoking ban only applied to indoor smoking, Starbucks Corporation spokeswoman Jamie Riley said.
In Florida, 400 Starbucks locations will change their smoking policies, she said. The ban won’t affect the other 170, which are licensed and found in bigger buildings, such as Target stores, where smoking already is not allowed.
The 25-foot no-smoking area may be shorter if the company does not control that much space, she said.
The Starbucks ban won’t affect neighboring businesses because they control the area immediately outside, Riley said. The company is open to feedback from patrons.
“The intent is to provide customers with a safe and healthy environment,” she said.
Florida outlawed indoor workplace smoking in 2003. Smoking is allowed in private homes, retail tobacco stores, hotel rooms that allow smoking, airport smoking lounges, stand-alone bars and outdoor patios.
Jill Erwich, a wedding photographer from Delray Beach, said she’s glad to hear about the Starbucks ban.
Sitting inside the City Place Starbucks, waiting for a client to show, the 26-year-old said she hates the smell and is concerned about second-hand smoke as a health hazard.
Erwich, who said she goes to Starbucks at least once a month to do work, doesn’t think the updated policy will affect the number of Starbucks customers.
“Florida’s pretty lenient on smoking laws,” she said, “unlike Manhattan.”
To, 31, said moving 25 feet away from a Starbucks isn’t a big deal, and she understands where non-smokers are coming from. But she thinks the new policy is annoying.
“I feel like the outside is public, and air is free,” she said.
She said she’s now less likely to hang out at Starbucks.
“I’ll go to Dunkin’, probably,” she said with a laugh.