Today, outdoor smoking shelters serve a dual purpose, as they address the concerns of non-smokers by limiting exposure to second-hand smoke and providing a designated spot for smokers. Despite this, the design of outdoor smoking shelters must combine functionality and an influential nature, as the behavior of those using the shelters should be affected. To that end, detailed below is the psychology behind outdoor smoking shelter design and how this can impact the behavior of smokers.
Comfort and Privacy
Smokers around the world are now forced to go outside to smoke, which can be a relatively uncomfortable experience. That’s where outdoor smoking shelters come in to create some comfort and privacy. Via this creation of a secluded and secure environment, people are encouraged to spend a little more time in the shelter. From this, not only is the visibility of smoking reduced, but it encourages smokers to remain within the designated area. As a result, these smokers aren’t as likely to wander off to locations that aren’t as suitable.
Tall plants, partitions, and screens can work to achieve privacy. Meanwhile, windbreaks and suitable seating can provide comfort and protection from the elements. Therefore, smokers can sit comfortably without being bothered by excessive rain or sun. When done right, a smoking shelter can become a retreat from the outside world, which means it’s much more likely to be used effectively.
Limiting Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke
The number one reason behind outdoor smoking areas is the protection of non-smokers from second-hand smoke exposure. In order to achieve this goal, an effective design needs to be implemented to minimize the drift of smoke. This works to protect non-smokers, especially when shelters are strategically placed to ensure proper airflow and ventilation are in place. This airflow can be facilitated via partially enclosed or fairly open designs, which allows smoke to dissipate quickly. Similarly, partitions, walls, and other smoke barriers can act as buffer zones between non-smokers and smokers. Since these physical barriers are in place, the risk of second-hand smoke exposure is considerably reduced.
Encouraging Responsible Behavior
Encouraging responsible smoking behaviour can be made a whole lot easier via the design of smoking shelters. For example, smokers can be deterred from throwing cigarette butts on the ground by way of the installation of ashtrays in the shelter. While it may not seem like a lot, this simple implementation can make a world of difference. Something as simple as an ashtray can promote cleanliness and prevent people from discarding litter on the floor.
Additionally, the expectation of responsible smoking can be communicated via the design of smoking shelters. For instance, designated smoking zones and clear signage can make it apparent that smoking is permitted in this area; however, it can’t happen elsewhere. From this, boundaries are set, which means smokers are given a better understanding of what’s allowed, and they respect this.
Visual Aesthetics and Appeal
It’s not just about function; the visual aspects of smoking areas also massively affect behavior. This is because well-maintained and attractive smoking shelters make for more pleasant experiences. As a result, smokers are more likely to smoke in the designated areas rather than in areas where it isn’t as appropriate. On the other side of the coin, if smoking shelters are neglected or poorly designed, people are less likely to use them. The consequence of this is that individuals smoke in places where they’re not supposed to do so.
In order to create a visually pleasing environment, you might consider the use of greenery or natural materials like wood. Greenery not only enhances aesthetics but can also work to improve air quality, which is of the utmost importance in a smoking area where the air quality will be significantly hindered. What’s more, with the help of proper lighting, smoking shelters can be made safe and inviting, even during the nighttime hours.
Creating a Sense of Community
Last but not least, smoking shelters can be deeply psychological in the sense that they provide the ability to foster a sense of community among smokers. With the help of a designated space, it becomes clear that smoking is accepted in this area, meaning that smokers are made to feel more at ease. By creating a sense of belonging, smokers are less likely to experience feelings of social isolation, which can be common when they’re subjected to ostracization because of their habit.
Shared tables, comfortable seating, and ashtrays are just some of the features that can be implemented into a smoking area to create a setting that nurtures a community. This is because a comfortable setting such as this provides smokers with the opportunity to connect with and interact with one another. From this, people are made to feel less stigmatized, which also increases their likelihood of using the shelter.