Bills ban smoking at Ralph Wilson Stadium


Ralph Wilson Stadium is now a smoke-free facility.

The Buffalo Bills have announced that there will no longer be designated smoking areas in their home stadium, banning smoking everywhere at the facility for the first time. The change takes effect beginning with the new uniform unveiling ceremony at the stadium this month.

“We have listened to the vast majority of our fans who want to enjoy the game day experience in a smoke-free facility and we wanted to notify all of our fans well in advance of our first home game of this change in our Fan Behavior Policy,” Bills CEO Russ Brandon said. “It is important that everyone understands that there will be zero tolerance on this element of our policy.”

Ralph Wilson Stadium also has a policy against re-entry, so fans who leave the stadium to smoke can’t come back in.

64 responses to “Bills ban smoking at Ralph Wilson Stadium

  1. I do not smoke and don’t understand why an outdoor venue can’t have designated areas for smokers.

  2. This is such BS. As a former smoker, I hate these stupid rules. Look, I get it. It smells, and its not good for you. But, if there are designated smoking areas OUTSIDE then why are people crying. So what if you smell it. I guess they should ban cologne then too because some people have very sensitive noses.

    Alcohol isn’t great for you either. It causes fights, and more times than not, a bad game day experience for parents bringing their children to the games but you won’t ever see them ban that will you?

    Control freaks! FU owners!

  3. I agree with airplayful.

    It’s good that smoking isn’t allowed in the seating area, but some place outside the stadium should be provided, maybe even fenced in so smokers can light up and then be allowed back in.

  4. this is not a surprise.. I can almost slap a 100% guarantee that all 32 NFL teams will follow the same..

    I attend about 4 or 5 Carolina Panther games a year and the Bank of America stadium is already smoke free.. I do agree with airplayful that having a designated area is thesiable.. As a owner I would think how many fans ” might ” leave due to the fact that there isn’t an area for smokers.. I need to think about that lost REVENUE…

  5. I think we should ban drinking at games too. People become belligerent and obnoxious when drinking and they ruin the experience for everyone at the games. Why not ban smokeless tobacco? It’s nasty and vile and those who use it are irresponsible when it comes to the receptacles they use to spit out their leavings? Why not ban food? People can’t throw away their garbage and it ruins the experience for me at the game when I walk to my seat and stick to the ground where someone left a half-eaten tray of nachos!!

    Get real!!! Don’t single out specific groups of people. GTFO and makes rules and policies that make sense for everyone. New rules and policies like, I don’t know, a collective bargaining agreement so we can watch the damn games in the first place!!

    If you disagree with me, let’s ban you too. You’re ruining my reading experience.

  6. Soon ownership of property for smokers will be a “state” event, we’ve seen this before.

  7. I’m not a smoker and I believe smoking is a disgusting habit.

    That being said, I do not understand why other non-smokers are so bothered by the sight or even faint smell of smoke. America is getting a little soft . . .

  8. i don’t have a problem with smokers, or a smoking area, but a lot of people don’t use them. they just smoke where they want, or try to sneak one in the hallways, which ruined it for the people that did use them. however i don’t really care. so you have to go three to five hours between a smoke, big deal. if that’s too much for you, don’t go to the games. no one’s forcing you to go to the games, or coming to your house to take your cigarettes. a private business just decided they didn’t want something done on their property, if you don’t like it, don’t give them your business.

  9. They should put it on a ballot, since Ralph Wilson paid $0 for the stadium that he so selflessly named after himself.

  10. the fact that you would require a special area made for you so that you can feed a disgusting addiction is both sad and pathetic. if you can’t go a few hours without a cigarette, you need serious help. the catering we do for smokers simply because they “need” the fix is disturbing. For those reasons, habitual smokers are no better than any other drug addict. Gotta have it, wherever, whenever. I’ve actually had people get in fights with me when they couldn’t have a cigarette, never had it happen that way with alcohol, or even pot for that matter. But cigarettes are the one thing everybody just accepts as ok to flip out about….. get over it. Stop smoking or be a self controlled adult and learn that you can’t do it all the time, everywhere you go.

  11. Well, to quote everyone else who has been on the owner’s side of the lockout…

    “…they own the business, they can do what they want to do.”

    I think if you can go to all these lengths to ban smoking everywhere, but don’t actually make smoking illegal, it is a bit hypocritical. Especially when places like Cleveland Browns stadium were built on “sin taxes” like cigarettes.

    But the tax revenue is quite lucrative and Republican and Democrat alike are too addicted to that type of tax, where a small demographic is affected that won’t hurt them at the polls.

    Again, they can afford banning cigarettes because the number of tickets sold won’t decline and demand might even go up a bit, so the few lost sales will be more than made up due to demand.

    Such is the free market.

  12. hey no one wants to ruin their lungs because some ahole can’t control their urge to smoke for a few hours. The problem with smoking isn’t that anyone cares about your health it’s that second hand smoke causes people who don’t smoke to ruin their lungs too. So no fans should’t be forced to raise the risk of cancer so you can enjoy your addiction to slow suicide.

  13. First, I don’t go to games and won’t give the owners my money. However, it’s BS that they are singling out a group of people because they are so many winers in the crowd that don’t want to smell smoke. Give me a break and while your at it, take out your pacifiers. It’s a football game people. It’s not a formal ball. Pansies!

  14. mase7286: Limited fan base? Bills fans have filled that place despite no playoffs since 1999.

  15. I think we will see a lot more outside smoking bans in general and I disagree with it. This was America which used to be land of the free. If people want to poison themselves with smoking it’s their right, and no non smoker has the right to tell them otherwise.

    Bills fans, smoking is bad for you! Have a huge soda, an over size beer and an artery clogging foot long hot dog instead!

  16. Hate having to do this on a football site, but oh well.

    So I assume none of the people that support the smoking ban drink alcohol, right? Because guess what? You’re next. And not just at the stadiums.

    See, the country and individual states are going bankrupt. And one of the biggest revenue streams come from, (wait for it) taxes on cigarettes! You know, those horrible things that cause cancer? Yeah, they pay for your roads, your schools, and even your publicly funded NFL stadiums! So what happens when you force everyone to quit? You lose revenue! Well, taxing vices works, there is no doubt about it. So lets move on to the next major vice. Alcohol. You think it’s expensive now? Double the price of every alcoholic beverage you consume. 85 percent of the price of cigarettes is tax. Not so with the booze. Yet anyway. So that 8 dollar stadium beer? It just jumped to 16 bucks. No big deal, right? You just won’t give the money to the greedy owner, and will stay home and drink? Yeah, that 40 of skunky beer just went up to 6 bucks a bottle. Or a 24 pack of Buds? 45 bucks please. (plus deposit).

    I can’t wait. As a former smoker, and a never drinker, I cannot wait to see all the alcoholics beotchin and moaning about how the government is screwing them just because they like to have a drink. And I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

    Just so you know, it’s called a slippery slope. And we’re all sliding down to the abyss. Enjoy!

  17. I would love to smash some of you here that complain that it ruins your lungs or that it puts you out that others smoke. Get real, and go to soccer games.

    @biggerballz, just so you are aware, you risk cancer in multiple ways during every single day so quit crying.

    @philgrek, nobody is saying they should be able to do it wherever they go, just when it’s outside they should be allowed. Boy would I love to see someone like you face to face. Did your wife tell you to say that, because I’m sure by reading your posts that you have to follow her every rule. Sound like such a women. Grow a set man.

  18. mase7286 says: Jun 15, 2011 8:14 AM

    As if the bills didnt have enough issues with keeping their limited fan base

    You know what’s worse than a smoker? An ignorant smoker.
    Don’t mistake a shaky ownership situation (due to the owners age) for a limited fan base. The Bills have a huge fan base and sell out most of their home games unlike some other NFL teams.

    As for banning smoking, good for them. I have no problem with them having a designated area, but the issue is smokers still smoke in the stands.

    As a Dad with an asthmatic son, kudo’s Bills!

  19. This is probably more a condition of Erie County than of Buffalo Bill policy. Conditional terms in order to receive state/county/city funding. I am somewhat surprised that post 9-11 that smoking and the use of matches and lighters hasn’t been banned earlier.

  20. “So what if you smell it. I guess they should ban cologne then too because some people have very sensitive noses.

    Cologne doesn’t give you cancer.

  21. For all those people that say that the designated areas for smoking didn’t work because smokers still smoke in the stands. The smokers that do not follow the rules will still smoke in the stands. How will they make sure that the smokers don’t even bring cigatettes into the stadium? A TSA patdown?

  22. The lengths to which smokers will go to defend their “rights” are unbelievable. There is no “right” to smoke. Disclaimer: I watched my father-in-law flip around on his hospital bed like a fish sucking for air before he died of lung cancer; lifelong smoker.

  23. I agree with those who believe there should be a NFL wide ban on smoking in NFL stadiums.

    It is time for Roger Goodell to show some leadership and common sense on this subject. Why should the NFL promote and allow smoking at any NFL stadium where most fans in the stadium, are “non smokers”, and are being subjected to the smoke and smell of this “known carcinogen”?

    It is not out of line to ask smokers to refrain from smoking for 2 or 3 hours, while they are watching a NFL game, where 80% or more of those attending the game, are NON SMOKERS.

    Of today’s population, only 20% of the population smokes. Smokers are in the minority of those attending games and the NFL need not and should not cater to the addictions of that minority.

    Provide nicotine gum at all NFL games, to help smokers get through the game without a nicotine meltdown.

    Who knows, maybe a few more smokers will decide to just give up that nasty habit…

    …jmho, mac

  24. I’m a non-smoker who would NOT be opposed to an outdoor — outside the venue — designated smoking area.

    The real issue seems to be that the designated areas may not be strictly enforced so they’ve decided to cut the cord all together.

    Everyone has rights … and if an outdoor section could be enforced properly then it should be …

    Smokers take note, because I believe those that have taken liberties outside the designated areas have cost you this!

    Give the smokers their nicotine fix and enforce the Zero-Tolerance within the nicotine free zones!

  25. All I can say, as a former smoker, if you take away the small designated smoking areas then those smokers are going to me more angry than those crazy alcoholics!!

  26. Can they ban sucking, too? I doubt it would work but they might as well try it since more traditional means like drafting new players and changing coaches hasn’t worked.

  27. HEY look, if the owners could ban ur bringing in cigarettes, like they do beer. then they would charge u 6.00 a cig and u could smoke where ever you wanted.

  28. mase7286 says:
    Jun 15, 2011 8:14 AM
    As if the bills didnt have enough issues with keeping their limited fan base

    Get your facts straight. The Bills don’t have “a limited fan base”. They consistantly sell out games and are one of the only small market teams that do. They are always the highest rated program in the time slot on TV when the games are shown in this area. When the stadium was an 80,000 seat stadium they did the same. Buffalo Bills fans are very die hard fans. Even with the poor seasons we have had, the fans still pull through with sell outs at the stadium.

    So mase7286, don’t talk shi* about what you have no clue about.

  29. The NFL will never ban beer drinking at the stadiums. Bud and Coors are “partners” of the NFL and other brewers advertise on the NFL’s network “partners”. A huge chunk of that $9bil
    that’s always talked about is beer money! Can’t
    kill the Golden Goose…

  30. @leonitas21 How you came to assume I’m married based on the fact that I can’t stand whiney smokers is beyond me. I’d love to meet someone like you face to face too, because your logic is moronic and I doubt you could actually hold any part of an intelligent conversation. Any person with as little will power as to have a significant problem with being asked to go mere hours without a cigarette is a sad piece of humanity. I suspect that you are one of these people given your suggestion that I “grow a pair” in order to support other’s stupid habits. How about you and other addicts grow a pair, man up, and stop whining about how many cigarettes you get to smoke and where you get to smoke them. If you’re at a NFL game and one of your biggest concerns is where you get to have a cigarette, your priorities are pathetic.

  31. Ban alcohol sales because of the irresponsible patrons who get blackedout drunk and kill people on their way home from games, just like in Miami when the guy killed the father and daughter and his only response was, at least the Dolpins won.

    Ban cell phone use because it can cause cancer.

    Ban select types of food because they can lead to obesity which can be linked to heart disease.

    Smokers have accepted the designated areas, it is the morons who smoke wherever they want that ruin the experience. If the minimum wage gameday employees the team hires did more than just stand there and enforced the rules by kicking those people out, we could all attend games in harmony.

  32. I’m suprised this wasn’t put through sooner. Yes, you are outside, but the way the Stadium is designed, 75%of all air inside the bowl circulates for an entire game. Therefore, a smoker sitting in the 300 section near Endzone A, will affect(although minimal) a non-smoker sitting in the 100 section of Endzone B. Either way, when I go to a game, I paid good money to sit there and enjoy the game, not be “smoked” out of my seats. It’s not so much that it’s a health risk, but it’s annoying and is total disrespect for the people around you. The team is smart too. Is all it takes is for one smoker in a non-smoking section to set off an asthma attack, then it’s money down the tubes from there. Id rather fend off a few drunks, then to be forced to cough up a lung any day of the week.

  33. “Cologne doesn’t give you cancer.”

    But diesel fumes do.. and so does the sun.. everything in moderation. Smoking is stinky and disgusting, but smelling it for a second isn’t going to hurt you.

    I quit smoking about 5 years ago now, and I still can’t stand the ridiculously overzealous anti-smoking lobby.

  34. @rabidbillsfan

    Could we have a link to that totally made up fact? The 75 percent air recirculation? It’s probably somewhere on a page with a hockey stick graph.

    100 percent of people that post statistics are not scientists.

  35. The entire debate is absurd. Many complain that the smokers don’t deserve the ability to go OUTSIDE to a designated area to have a cigarette. Why not? Because you don’t want them to and your desires should hold more weight than theirs? Comments such as “if you can’t go a few hours without a cigarette, you need serious help” are myopic at best. Why not remove the bathrooms at the stadiums then? If you can’t go 3 hours without taking a piss… Sounds equally absurd but uses the exact same logic.

    The people that break the rules should be ejected from the premises. No warnings, no exceptions. Light up in the stands/bathrooms/hallways and you’re gone. Not hard at all.

    A designated area does not impinge on anybody’s rights. As other posters have said, this is a slippery slope and it will not stop there although that is more an issue from a gov’t/tax standpoint than an individual company’s preference. Today it’s smokers, tomorrow, drinkers, next “fat people”, after that…”health nuts” should start worrying that a convenience tax will be bestowed upon that little bottle of water that they depend on so much so there is never one out of arm’s reach.

    For everybody saying stuff like second hand smoke causes cancer, etc. that’s true, but what are the parameters? Do you even know, or do you just parrot the common knowledge general conclusion without any knowledge of the circumstances that brought it about? Anything consumed in mass quantities can kill you. The fact is second hand smoke can cause cancer but the exposure amount necessary is never mentioned by the anti-smoking folks because it makes their argument sound less genuine or convincing. You are more likely to be affected by the volume of noxious material emitted by the cars in the traffic jam to get out of the stadium than you would by standing in an outside designated smoking area for the duration of the game.

  36. I used to smoke, and even if I still did I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this. You can go 3-4 hours without having a cigarette. If you can’t, then how do you make it through a work day where you have to go about the same amount of time between breaks?

    Up until I quit I would go out to the designated area at halftime to light up, but mostly because I was bored, not because I was Jonesing so badly. If you need your nicotine that badly, get an Electronic Cigarette and smoke wherever the hell you want.

  37. MichaelEdits,
    My sentiments exactly. One would think they would try to provide an incentive to go to games.

    Given that the national smoking rate is about 20%, it is hardly a stretch to think that among a blue collar demographic like upstate NY football fans, it is substantially higher. The whole thing is just lame.

  38. So it’s a “fan friendly” stadium now except for the people who smoke and can’t even leave the stadium to do so? Wait till the ban on selling beer starts.

  39. Here’s the deal. First off, my facts above are not refrenced, however the way a stadium is structurally designed, that is what happens. The reason they are banning it all together, is to eliminate all complaints. If you assign a certain seating area, and it fill’s, what are the ones who get snubbed supposed to do? Now look at the other way, what if a Non-smoker prefers the seats they assign as the smoking section? Also, If they allow “Smokers-Only” to exit and Re-enter, that’s not fair to the Non-Smoker. If they institute a complete Ban, they can avoid all the hassle of these issues. Not everybody is going to be happy, but atleast they instituted a rule to benfit the masses, and not the minority.

  40. Let me preface this by saying I hang out with a lot of smokers.

    I love how so many of you are calling smokers “whiny” when your main arguments are “it smells gross and I don’t want to smell it”, and “I paid to come to the game and I don’t want it around me”.. Wah Wah Wah. You sound like a child who needs their mother to make the big bad bully go away. Americans have really become a bunch of wimps.

    Also, the whole “it causes cancer” thing is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. News Flash *Sitting next to a smoker in an outdoor arena will not give you cancer”. You have a better chance of getting cancer from the sun shining on you during the game.

    Many of you have also said that it’s a private business and they have the right to ban smoking. Now that’s something I can agree with, except that’s not how you really feel. You’re the same morons who lobbied to get smoking banned in bars and all other public indoor places. Those are private businesses, but the government won’t give those owners the right to allow their patrons to smoke. That’s called hypocrisy my friends. If you wanted to go to a non-smoking bar than open a non-smoking bar.

    Cigarettes are perfectly legal and harmless to a non-smoker unless they are stuck in a small smoke filled room. The Anti-Smoking lobby not only baffles me, but it strikes me as UnAmerican. You people need to start worrying about your own lives and not what’s going on around you. You really just come off as a bunch of whiny, entitled, babies.

    By the way (and I know I’m going to get killed for saying this) there is NO conclusive scientific proof that second hand smoke causes cancer. It’s just assumed that it does and it probably could (everything causes cancer nowadays) but people keep referencing that as if it’s a fact, but it’s not.

  41. @RabidBillsFan

    Again, you are asserting your opinion as scientific fact. If someone is smoking in your actual seating section, they should be tossed immediately. The smoking areas are not in the seating areas, they would be near the outside by the concourse area. Far from the seats. If you are saying that the smoke is blowing in from those places, then you need to be sniffing out bombs at the airport.

    Lots of outdoor stadiums have banned smoking inside the stadium. But they either A. Have a cordoned off area far away from seating, or B. Allow you to step outside the stadium and smoke on the street, and reenter. How is that not fair for a non smoker?

    Face it. You are just a damn crybaby. And crybabies get their way in this country.

    When the Bills move to Toronto, I will enjoy their new policies!

  42. The problem is smoking doesn’t provide revenue, like beer and junk food. If it did, they would hold specials to attract more smokers. Buy one seat in the smoking section, get one free. BUY NOW!

    The Bills want to move to Toronto, solely to make more money. Although most home games in Buffalo are sold out, average ticket price is only $50. They could get $150-175 in Canada. For the last five years, they have been testing the waters by playing one or two home games in Toronto. It’s called the American Football League. What could be more American then moving offshore to make money?

    Outsourcing, that’s what. They should contract game playing to a team from China. If it doesn’t perform, fire the whole team by not renewing its contract, which works better than firing the coach. IBM and Microsoft do it all the time. It’s the American way.

  43. Thats outrageous. First of all, everyone inside ralph wilson stadium smells like a forest fire from all the burning charcoal outside. Second, the smoking sections outside did not bother any rational person.

    I’m not a smoker, and I hate this policy. An obese person who needs to take more than one chair is more annoying than a smoker. So if you want to discriminate against a group of people because its bad for their health and annoying to others, why not kick out the fat people while they’re at it?

  44. I work in a hospital and am still amazed by the number of people in their fifties who are in for smoking related problems. If you smoke and want to kill yourself, I’m fine with it. It pays my salary, but don’t take everyone else with you. I have seen my share of spouses who never smoked but was married to one, and they were tethered to oxygen. I started in an oncology unit and it was an eye opener to see the number of patients dealing with lung cancer. And yes, I know most smokers don’t get lung cancer, but why take the chance. I mainly dislike smokers because they disregard what a decent human being won’t do. They litter sidewalks, lawns, parking lots, etc… with cigarette butts. I ride a motorcycle and have almost been hit by inconsiderate smokers throwing lit butts out the window. I sincerely hope they raise the cigarette tax more to pay for the increased hospitalization smokers require.

  45. @rwagner66

    You could not be more wrong. This has NOTHING to do with money,nothing. The only way that would make sense, was if Ralph himself were to uproot the team and move it to Toronto. He gains absolutley nothing from this. The reason for the Toronto series was to spark international intrest, so when it came time to pass the torch, potential buyers from Canada would line up(as of now, no Wilson is in line to take over for the old man). Yes, tickets are more expensive in Canada, but so is everything else. Again, this ban is coming down, probaly, because of the amount of complaints that have been received over a period of time. The Bills #1 priority is the fan, and I doubt that they have had anybody complain about breathing too much fresh air.

  46. And to back that up with some facts, take a look at the Sabres, roughly 50k people complained about the opening theme to the pre_ game show, within a week it was replaced. The red stripe along the concourse? Gone. Goal song? Was cycled towards the end of the season. Those are facts. Also, why the hell are there so many “fin” fans commenting on this?

  47. This is one of the dumbest things Stadiums, Ballparks and Arenas are doing to fans. As a smoker I have no problem going outside to smoke as I do not smoke in my own home. To not let fans in and out makes no sense. Went to a game at the Rogers Centre and went to go for a smoke of course no in and outs so I asked why? I was told that I could give my ticket to someone else……….WTF? Really? Who cares? The ticket is paid for so why does it matter if I give it to someone? So I left in the 3rd inning went to the Renassaince Hotel walked into Arriba restaurant sat down by the glass overlooking left field ordered a round of beers and a steak dinner and enjoyed the rest of the game drinking and eating for way cheaper then the $15 pints and $8 hotdogs they serve at the Dome! When I wanted a smoke I just walked outside and waltzed right back in with no attitude from some jerkoff security ticket taker! So thats were I go to watch all sporting events at the Dome. Me and a buddy went to the International Bowl their and watched Ray Rice put up 280 yards. Our bill for 16 beers and food was $110 for the day and we didnt have to buy a $65 ticket either.

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