Tobacco no longer sold on U campus

Health reasons were part of the reason to stop cigarette sales in student unions.

Riham Feshir

Tobacco sales on campus ended July 1 after a vote by the Twin Cities Student Unions Board of Governors.

The board made the decision partly because tobacco sales at on-campus locations were dropping.

Sales worsened because smoking isn’t allowed in any University buildings, including the bowling and pool halls in the student unions, said Om Padhye, Board of Governors president.

“We had felt for some time this was a slight discrepancy in policy, allowing the sales of tobacco but not the use of it in certain buildings,” he said.

Lorie Will, assistant director for retail and sponsorship of Twin Cities Student Unions, said tobacco sales were $82,154 in the past fiscal year, a

decrease of 11.5 percent during the previous year and 25 percent during the 2000-01 year.

In addition to decreasing tobacco sales, students are not using tobacco as much as they used to, according to a 2004 Boynton Health Service survey.

The study showed that tobacco use by University students has decreased from approximately 38 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2004.

Health reasons were also part of the reason to stop cigarette sales in student unions.

“The board is aware of health risks related to tobacco sales, and that was part of the influence to make the decision,” said Maggie Towle, Twin Cities Student Unions director.

Padhye said the board also hoped to keep tobacco use low by prohibiting student union convenience stores from advertising tobacco. The stores also kept tobacco behind the counter in a small case that was barely visible, he said. 

“This was to keep tobacco products out of the typical line of sight of customers,” he said.

Danielle Fods, a University student and a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee said she agrees strongly with the decision and thinks it will help reduce dangerous risks caused by smoking.

“I think not promoting them on campus or selling them on campus is probably the best way,” she said.

Brad Mateer, manager of Harvard Market, said despite the decision, the off-campus convenience store has not seen an increase in tobacco sales since July 1.

Lori Vander Zanden, Harvard Market employee and University student, said sales of tobacco still increase in the evening, which was normal before the board’s decision.

The board made the decision to stop selling tobacco when it planned this year’s budget and Hennepin County officials passed its smoking ban.

The ban gave the board a signal that people “wish to distance themselves from tobacco,” Padhye said.