Debate: Should Canadian restaurants follow Starbucks' example and ban smoking near their stores?

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Debate: Should Canadian restaurants follow Starbucks

That's me - 7.6 metres away from a Starbucks entrance.

If you usually pair your morning coffee with a cigarette, you won't be able to outside your local Starbucks anymore.

The coffee chain has enacted a ban that not only prohibits smoking on their patios, but also within 7.6 metres of all their store entrances in the U.S. and Canada.

"Effective June 1, Starbucks' existing no-smoking policy will be extended to include outdoor seating areas of our company-owned stores in Canada," spokesperson Carly Suppa told CBC News.

It may seem like a bold move for a restaurant, but in some provinces across Canada, patio smoking bans are already in place. Ontario, for example, banned smoking on outdoor restaurant and bar patios last year (though there were many violations of the bans reported).

Obviously, Starbucks can only enforce the ban on property they own, but it still sends a clear message that smoking isn't welcome.

Lately, it seems like there is a new smoking ban announced every day across Canada - whether it's in parks, sports fields, beaches, playgrounds, patios or public golf courses.

It may seem excessive, but it's for a good reason: No amount of exposure to second-hand smoke is safe, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Aside from the bigger risks, like lung cancer and heart problems, second-hand smoke causes sore eyes and throat, nasal irritation, headaches, coughing and wheezing, nausea and dizziness. Breathing in second-hand smoke can also trigger asthma attacks and increase the chances of getting chest infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.

What do you think of Starbucks' new ban? Would you support a similar ban at other restaurants across Canada?

-Katharine Watts, associate web editor

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