The Student Co-op General Store joined the nation in recognizing the Great American SmokeOut by not selling any tobacco products last Thursday.
The Great American SmokeOut is a day when many stores do not sell cigarettes and numerous programs occur, aimed at educating smokers about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting.
Roosevelt alumnus and member of the General Store, George Gonzalez, said the members of the co-op wanted to recognize National Great American SmokeOut to show their support for those quitting.
“”It is to show we do support nonsmoking programs, and at the same time that we support a smoker’s right to smoke,”” Gonzalez said. “”This was a way we could do both.””
Currently, the General Store is the only store on campus where students can purchase cigarettes. According to Gonzalez, the store sells anywhere from 50 to 90 packs of cigarettes per day.
He also said that for the most part, people were understanding as to why the General Store would not allow cigarettes to be purchased on that day.
The fact that it was not selling cigarettes did not deter many smokers from smoking.
Warren sophomore David Lee laughed when he learned he could not buy cigarettes at the General Store.
“”Oh, my God, this is just wrong,”” Lee said, shaking his head in disbelief.
Lee said he would now have to go off campus to get cigarettes.
One customer yelled at the cashier when he was told he could not buy cigarettes.
“”Are you going to tell me when to smoke?”” the unidentified man yelled as he stormed out.
Revelle freshman Allie Umoff, who quit smoking a year ago, was stunned that the one day she craved a cigarette, she couldn’t buy any.
“”I had a dream about smoking a cigarette last night. And the only day I want to smoke, I can’t?”” Umoff said. “”Maybe this is a sign or something.””
Umoff said that she stopped smoking a year ago when it began to interfere with playing water polo to the best of her potential.
Marshall senior Brian Wheeler, a member of the General Store, said that he supports the Great American SmokeOut because those who want to quit should have the opportunity and support.
“”It’s nice to have a day recognizing the dangers of smoking. Those who want to quit should have opportunity to quit if they want to,”” Wheeler said. “”But this day shouldn’t pit people against smokers.””
Revelle junior John Mckenzie said that while he hopes the day saved lives, he did have doubts about it.
“”I hope a few lives were saved today. But it’s pretty harsh to tell people what they can and cannot do,”” Mckenzie said. “”People have their rights.””
Personnel from the Student Health Center manned an informational table on Library Walk to promote the benefits of quitting smoking.
The Student Health Center sponsored a program to encourage students to turn in their cigarette butts for prizes. A Tobacco Jeopardy game was also played and more prizes were given out.
Debbie Pino Saballett, outreach coordinator from the Student Health Center, emphasized the benefits of quitting smoking for even the day.
“”Quitting smoking for the day can make an impact on a student’s general health almost immediately,”” Saballett said.
She said that within the first 8 hours, carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal and oxygen level in blood increases. Within 24 hours, the chance of heart attack decreases. The benefits of quitting smoking increase dramatically within 48 hours to 72 hours.