Electronic cigarettes have been stirring up controversy recently as city officials around the US attempt to create e-cig regulations. Businesses like Starbucks aren’t waiting for new regulations on electronic cigarettes to get passed; Starbucks is making its own regulations, banning smoking cigarettes (including smokeless cigarettes) within 25 ft of the store. This new change in policy has stunned many smokers since coffee breaks and smoking have gained popularity. The store policy is being strictly enforced so even e-cig users can no longer vape in public if they are near a Starbucks.
According to the executive director of American Nonsmoker’s Rights, Cynthia Hallett, “Starbucks is the first chain to go smoke-free on its patios.”
The change has certainly disrupted many smokers causing some to even announce a boycott of Starbucks on Twitter. It is understandable that smoking near Starbucks could create a potential disruption. Using traditional cigarettes has been linked to negative side effects like shortness of breath, second-hand smoke, lung disease and even death. Nonsmokers do not want to subject themselves to the dangers of second-hand smoke outside of their homes. Electronic cigarettes present new hope for both smokers and nonsmokers alike since the vapor released from vaping is a harmless water-based smoke. Electronic cigarettes can even be used in most public spaces because they don’t contain the harsh toxins that come from burning tobacco products.
While Starbucks may be shying away from electronic cigarettes, many smokers have found a new sense of hope and have begun to regain their health thanks to e-cigarettes. Vaping does not need a lighter or matches so there is no fire hazard risk. Each e-cig uses a battery that helps to power a heated coil inside. When this coil is heated the e-liquid inside is turned into a water-based vapor that the user can inhale. Smoking e-cigs even help some smokers quit; something that cigarettes have never been able to claim. E-cig users have control over the nicotine levels in each smokeless cigarette so they can reduce the nicotine level over time, enabling smokers to control their smoking habit.
The actions of Starbucks have raised alarm in the smoking community. While e-cig users should not be punished or lumped into the same category of conventional smokers before research on e-cigs has been completed, Starbucks is ultimately working to ensure the safety of its patrons is maintained. There are still many places electronic cigarettes can vape publicly but this new regulation may have an impact on the smoking community.