This is an interesting story that a lot of people are misinterpreting.
Starbucks announced this week that they are banning smoking within 25 feet of their entrance ways. This sparked a lot of heated debate online about how they can’t ban smoking on sidewalks and streets, etc.
Well, not so fast. Basically, all Starbucks is doing is banning smoking within its own outdoor seating areas, regardless of what state laws are. Some states already ban smoking within 25 feet of a business, other have no rules about outdoor smoking. Starbucks is saying, “we don’t care. You’re on our property no smoking.” They can’t actually ban smoking on a sidewalk or street.
This could still cause some headaches for them. I’ve seen restaurants get into knockdown drag-outs trying to convince patrons they can’t smoke on an outside deck. And I’ve seen a brewpub that is fighting with a bar next door because all the bar’s customers go outside to smoke right in front of the brewpub.