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Co-op no longer selling cigarettes

August 29, 2005

The UConn Co-op has stopped selling cigarettes.

The Co-op moved to ban the sale of cigarettes in its stores at the suggestion of the University and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

“Banning cigarette sales at UConn Co-op stores means that UConn’s great name will no longer be linked to tobacco products – a significant step both symbolically and practically,” Blumenthal said. “Universities should lead and teach by example, as UConn is doing. The Co-op is sacrificing some revenue, but sending a powerful message: UConn will not abet Big Tobacco’s lies and deceptions. Selling tobacco at the UConn Co-ops is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to public health.”

Said University President Philip E. Austin, “In the 41 years since the first Surgeon General’s report outlining the risks associated with smoking, public institutions have gradually moved away from any association with tobacco-related products.

“While the UConn Co-op is autonomous,” Austin added, “its association with the University and its presence on our campuses cause us to be deeply interested in its decisions.”

The announcement was made in June, to take effect before the return of students for the fall semester. The remaining stocks at those stores that sold cigarettes – the Co-ops at the Storrs, Avery Point, Hartford, and Stamford campuses – were sold during the summer and no new orders were placed.

Stores at other locations, including Torrington and Waterbury, already did not sell cigarettes.

The Co-op halted sales of non-cigarette tobacco products several years ago, and had moved tobacco to a special, request-only area.

“The decision by the UConn Co-op to end the sale of cigarette products at its campus bookstores is consistent with the process we began a number of years ago of lowering the profile of tobacco products and looking toward the day when we would end those sales,” said William Simpson, general manager of the Co-op.

The UConn Co-op is a not-for-profit, cooperative corporation established to provide bookstore services for its members and the UConn community. It is owned by approximately 30,000 members, primarily UConn students, faculty and staff, and governed by an elected board of directors.

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