As part of an effort to prioritize customers’ health, CVS pharmacy announced Wednesday it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October — but between the low rate of student smokers and the high availability of cigarettes, it is unclear how much the impact the decision will have.
According to Jessica Wagner, manager of health promotion at University Health Services, most UT students will not be affected by the decision. Wagner said when compared to other colleges nationally, UT has a smaller proportion of self-reported smokers.
“Data from our fall 2013 implementation of the National College Health Assessment demonstrate that the majority of UT students responding to our survey have never used cigarettes — 64.4 percent — and only a small portion — 2.4 percent — are daily smokers,” Wagner said in an email.
Architecture freshman Samuel Robbins said he believes that for those few students that do smoke daily, CVS’ decision will not be disruptive. Robbins, who said he is in the process of quitting smoking, thinks devoted smokers already know how to overcome barriers to feeding their addiction.
“Because there’s no place on campus that sells cigarettes already, I don’t think that it’s going to influence [smokers] that much, since the people who would’ve quit have already quit, and the people who are going to continue to smoke have other places right on Guad,” Robbins said.
Radio-television-film freshman Chris Jambor said while he frequently buys cigarettes from CVS, the change won’t pose any great inconvenience for him.
“There’s a lot of other corner markets that I normally go to that have cheaper cigarettes anyway,” Jambor said. “CVS never had any kind of discounts on their tobacco, so they were always kind of discouraging.”
Jambor said there was not much that would be able to keep him from smoking. He said he understands that cigarettes are unhealthy, but his affinity for tobacco is too strong for him to ever want to quit.
“I’m aware of the great risk posed to my life [by smoking], but it doesn’t matter,” Jambor said.
Civil engineering sophomore Abdulla Saleh, who buys his cigarettes online, said he didn’t care that CVS was going to stop selling tobacco. Saleh said he wasn’t surprised by the policy shift.
“They should’ve done this a long time ago,” Saleh said. “I mean, it’s a pharmacy.”