By Matt Wiley

The seemingly age-old combination of stimulants, coffee and cigarettes has parted ways at Starbucks Coffee Co. stores nationwide, as the coffee chain moves toward making its locations completely smoke-free, inside & out.

As of June 1, smoking is no longer permitted outside of the 7,000 company-owned Starbucks locations nationwide, including the two stores in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area: at Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. and Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. and in front of the Shoppes at New Tampa shopping plaza, located at BBD and S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel.

“Starbucks takes pride in providing a comfortable environment at our stores where customers and members of the community gather,” Starbucks Coffee Co. spokeswoman Jamie Riley. “Effective June 1, Starbucks’ existing no-smoking policy was expanded to include outdoor seating areas of company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada.”

Company-owned stores are considered stand-alone locations or stores that are located in shopping plazas, Riley says. Stores that are located inside larger stores, such as the Target location on BBD at County Line Rd. or inside the Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Wiregrass mall, will not carry the same policy. If the shopping plaza permits it, customers can still smoke outside of that larger store.

“We always value our customers feedback, and we take seriously our responsibility to provide all customers a safe, healthy environment that is consistent across our company-owned stores,” Riley says. “We sincerely thank all customers for their support and cooperation.”

Starbucks has more than 400 company-owned stores in Florida alone.

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