Rogers Place won't let patrons back in if they leave for a smoke

The Rogers Place policy is a change from Rexall Place, which allowed people back inside as long as they had their tickets with them.

The Oilers former home at Rexall Place let smokers go outside between periods

Kevin Lowe, vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, confirmed the new Rogers Place policy prohibits patrons from re-entering the building if they leave during an event. (CBC)

Bad news for smokers.

Staff at the new Rogers Place arena will not let patrons back into the building if they leave for cigarette breaks during concerts or hockey games.

"All forms of smoking, including the use of electronic cigarettes (vaping), is not permitted on Rogers Place property," according to the policy. "Please be aware that guests will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the venue during events."

This is a change from the Oilers former home at Rexall Place, which allowed people back inside as long as they had their tickets with them.

"That's typical with security nowadays," Kevin Lowe, vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group, said Thursday during an interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "That's the standard around buildings all over the world, or at least in North America."

Canadian NHL arenas are split on whether to allow people to exit and re-enter for smoking breaks. 

Rogers Arena in Vancouver, the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, and the Bell Centre in Montreal forbid people from re-entering after they leave the building

The Air Canada Centre in Toronto allows people to leave for a cigarette by scanning their tickets at a designated gate. The MTS Centre in Winnipeg allows people to re-enter through one of three main entrances. 

The Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome has a designated smoking area outside. 

The story provoked lively conversation on CBC Edmonton's Facebook page.

"I don't smoke but it's not against the law ( just poor judgement) & if they paid for their ticket — why shouldn't they be allowed to come and go?" asked Gisele Lamarche. 

"Well that settles it. Never seeing another Oilers game," said Cam Elliot. "I'll save the money and watch it at the pub!"

"It is just a cigarette, you can go without," Dave Martel wrote. "Smokers travel 8 hour plus flights all the time on an airplane. I have a tiny violin around here someplace. I'd like to play a ditty for you..."

"People with anxiety will have a hard time with this rule," wrote Mallory Gage. "Being surrounded by that many people can be very difficult. They sometimes just need the open air to calm down. It's definitely discriminatory."

Rogers Place officially opens Thursday.