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Attorney General, UConn President, UConn Co-op GM
Announce Co-op To Stop Selling Cigarettes
Released: June 14, 2005

Release #05039
Contact:
Christopher Hoffman 860-808-5324
Attorney General’s Office

Erica Palluio (860)486-2551
UConn Co-op

Karen Grava 860-486-5385
University of Connecticut

STORRS, Conn.— Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, University of Connecticut (UConn) President Philip E. Austin and UConn Co-op General Manager William Simpson today announced that the UConn Co-op will stop selling cigarettes by the fall.

The Co-op moved to ban the sale of cigarettes in its stores at Blumenthal’s and UConn’s suggestion.

“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.”

“ 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," Austin said. "While the UConn Co-op is autonomous, its association with the University and its presence on our campuses cause us to be deeply interested in its decisions. I am pleased that the Co-op leadership has taken this positive step toward the promotion of public health."

“ The recent 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,” Simpson said. “When we moved tobacco to a special, request-only area, we experienced a sales drop of nearly 60 percent and a unit sales decline greater than that over the past few years. We agree with the attorney general that it is now appropriate to end the sales of cigarettes. We will be exiting the business over the next few months and will not be selling cigarettes when the students return in the Fall.”

Co-op stores at UConn’s Storrs, Avery Point, Hartford and Stamford campuses are the only ones that sell cigarettes. Those stores will sell their remaining stocks of cigarettes over the summer and place no new orders.   Co-op officials expect cigarette inventories to be exhausted by the start of the fall semester.

The Co-op halted sales of non-cigarette tobacco products several years ago.

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.

The Co-op also operates bookstores at UConn’s Torrington, Waterbury and West Hartford campuses, which already don’t sell cigarettes.

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