What is a Smoking Shelter?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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A smoking shelter is a type of constructed, designated smoking area that is typically covered and in other ways designed to allow both smokers and non-smokers remain more comfortable. These structures are often designed to work well in summer and winter, with a number of different styles and construction options available, depending on the manufacturer. They often work well to help enforce laws regarding smoking in public places, and may be utilized by a number of different types of businesses. A smoking shelter allows smokers to have a designated area in which they can smoke, while also allowing non-smokers freedom from secondhand smoke.

Many different regions, including numerous states within the United States (US), have strict laws regarding the ability of people to smoke in public places. This often includes restaurants, businesses, shopping centers, and offices and multi-floored office buildings. While many of these places may strongly enforce a “no smoking” policy within the building, they may put less effort into discouraging smoking near the entrance of the building. Many of the smoking laws, however, also make it illegal to smoke within a certain distance from the entrance to a public building.


In order to combat this issue, some businesses have turned to establishing designated smoking sections to allow employees and customers a place to smoke that still enforces laws in the area. A smoking shelter is a type of smoking section that is constructed and intended to make the environment more comfortable for smokers. These can be fully enclosed structures complete with lighting and air conditioning or more open frameworks that allow air movement while still establishing a smoking section. A smoking shelter is also often built in areas of intense heat in summer or extreme cold in the winter, to allow smokers to remain comfortable and protected from the elements while smoking.

Though smoking is certainly a choice, and many people might disregard the desires of smokers to have places where they can smoke comfortably, some businesses recognize that customers or employees who smoke still want to feel welcome. A restaurant that does not allow smoking within the building can still invite smokers to sit in a comfortable smoking shelter and feel welcomed by the business. There are a number of manufacturers of smoking shelters, and they typically offer a fairly wide range of designs and options in different styles. Ashtrays are common accessories, and some fully enclosed models of smoking shelter can have sliding doors as well as natural ventilation.


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Post 3

@Iluviaporos - I guess the possibility of getting people to stop smoking is a bonus and I've definitely seen smoking shelters with posters and things up that are supposed to do that.

But in reality the main purpose is just to get the smokers away from the non-smokers so that they aren't killing them with second-hand smoke.

I actually don't think that smoking should be illegal at all, but it can be lethal for people who haven't chosen to do it, so it absolutely should be regulated.

Bars shouldn't have to worry about discouraging people from smoking though. That's not their job and it could turn people away from the door which could hurt their business as well.

There are plenty of ad campaigns and help available for people to quit smoking if they want to.

Post 2

@Mor - Well, I suppose that's more effective than what most bars do, which is just banish smokers outdoors altogether. That might seem like it could motivate someone to quit, but in my experience an outdoor smoking shelter does the exact opposite.

When you're out there, smoking away with a bunch of people who are in the same boat, you feel camaraderie with them and it actually gives you a reason to want to smoke more often. It also gives you a sense of pride and community, oddly enough.

That's the exact opposite of what you want to encourage in smokers if you're trying to get them to quit.

Post 1

I actually thought it was hilarious the last time I went to a club (which was the first time in a while) and saw the result of recent law changes regarding cigarettes. There was a tiny little room off to the side which was open to the air but still enclosed in wire and it was completely packed with people, to the point where it was like being on a completely full subway. I'm not sure if they were purposefully trying to give people reasons to quit smoking, but making them feel like sardines in a tin was certainly going to help.

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