The Seton Hall bookstore sells cigarettes, despite the health risk that they present, and as a result students on campus are asking why.
The CDC published a study on June 22, 2018 which states, “Each year in the United States, cigarette smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths, including approximately 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmoking adults. Smoke-free policies protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure, reduce the social acceptability of smoking, help in preventing youth and young adult smoking initiation and increase smokers’ efforts to quit smoking.”
This same study claimed that as of November 2017, there were 2,082 smoke-free campuses in the United States.
The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation claims there are at least 2,212 completely smoke-free campuses in the United States. Seton Hall, however, is not one of them. Not only does Seton Hall allow smoking on campus, but cigarettes are available for sale at their bookstore.
Seton Hall University’s Director of Business Affairs, Peter Trunk, said via email that “[t]he campus store has been selling tobacco products for over 30 years.” When asked whether the university has ever faced negative backlash because it sells cigarettes, Trunk said, “Not in my experience.”
When asked about the profits made by the bookstore on cigarette sales, Trunk declined to answer.
Despite the rising popularity of vaping, Trunk said the bookstore has “no plans” to offer vape products.
Some Seton Hall students dislike the university’s acceptance of smoking on campus. Senior biochemistry major Maggie Cosgrove said via email, “The University bookstore, does not sell condoms (which protect against communicable STIs), yet they choose to sell cigarettes, which can cause lung cancer.” Cosgrove finds the university’s selling of cigarettes to be “immoral” because it negatively affects the health of the students.
Senior biology major Olivia Helck agreed with Cosgrove, stating via email, “I really don’t want cigarettes being sold at the school store, especially since it’s clearly for financial gain more than anything else.” She added that “SHU also doesn’t sell gum because it damages school property, but it sells cigarettes.”
“Entering Seton Hall University, I was met with utter disappointment at the large population of students and University staff and professors who smoke daily and are enabled by the University’s sale of cigarettes and lack of enforcement of smoking rules,” said Cosgrove. “The sale of cigarettes in the school bookstore indicates to me that Seton Hall University is not truly invested in the health and wellbeing of our community.”
Marie Leone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.