Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Corp To Sell Nicotine Cessation Product Ahead of 2020 Tobacco Ban

Students of Georgetown Inc., commonly known as The Corp, plans to begin selling nicotine cessation products at Vital Vittles in coming weeks, ahead of a universitywide tobacco ban that will go into place Aug. 15. 

Beginning in August, smoking and other tobacco use will be prohibited within Georgetown University-owned buildings and grounds, the university announced last April. Prohibited items include all e-cigarettes, including juuls and vapes. The ban comes more than two years after students voted in a student government referendum in favor of creating a smoke-free campus.

Georgetown University Student Association Chair of Student Health Casey Kozak (NHS ’20) has pushed for the ban’s implementation since her appointment in 2018, she said. Kozak encouraged The Corp to begin selling cessation products such as nicotine gum or lozenges to help smokers quit smoking.

“The Corp was really open to the idea of bringing in cessation products,” Kozak said. “If we are going to put this ban in place we also need to have solutions available for people who are looking to quit.”

The decision to begin selling cessation products was driven by an entirely student-led initiative, according to Chairman of The Corp Joshua Sirois (SFS ’20).

“We as a company recognize the desire of students and Georgetown community members to transition away from nicotine and tobacco products,” Sirois wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We equally recognize that nicotine patches, mints, and gums are better alternatives.”

The university offers smoking and tobacco cessation support for students, faculty and staff. University resources include workshops and personalized cessation programs, which are available through all university-sponsored medical plans and the Student Health Center, according to Associate Vice President for Benefits, Payroll and Wellness and Chief Benefits Officer Charles DeSantis. 

The university plans to continue to support students as the university shifts to a smoke-free campus, according to DeSantis.

NATALIE REGAN/THE HOYA | The Corp’s Vital Vittles location will begin to sell cessation products including nicotine gum and lozenges in the coming weeks ahead of Georgetown’s 2020 tobacco ban which is effective this summer.

“We realize that the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Policy may significantly impact members of our community,” DeSantis wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We aim to create a supportive transition ahead of the policy’s fall 2020 implementation.”

The university is preparing for the ban’s enactment by displaying signage around campus to notify campus visitors and increasing communication about the smoke- and tobacco-free policy with the campus community, according to DeSantis.

Students with multiple infractions of the smoke- and tobacco-free policy may be considered in violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will be subject to disciplinary action, according to the smoke- and tobacco-free policy. Repeat violations by any faculty or staff member will be handled through normal university processes.

While The Corp was originally supposed to receive a shipment of the new cessation products Wednesday, the products were mistakenly not included with the shipment, according to Sirois.

“We have been awaiting the arrival of the shipment, and unfortunately, the products were not included with our order,” Sirois wrote. “We’re contacting our vendor to understand what went awry, but we now are uncertain of when we will receive the products and be able to begin sales.”

Though The Corp currently sells JUUL products and traditional cigarettes in its Hoya Snaxa and Vital Vittles locations, the stores plan to halt sales of tobacco products in tandem with the shift to the tobacco-free campus, according to Sirois.

“The Corp has full intentions of ceasing the sale of tobacco products prior to the onset of the tobacco-free policy this fall,” Sirois wrote. “The Corp will begin phasing out nicotine products over the summer of 2020.”

The high cost of cessation products often presents a barrier to students trying to quit smoking, according to Kozak. The price of one package of cigarettes in Washington, D.C., is around $10. A two-week supply of nicotine patches costs upward of $50 at CVS, while a package of 100 pieces of nicotine gum costs $45. 

“The biggest issue was actually a cost barrier,” Kozak said. “A lot of people I talked to said they would go to CVS or wherever and get patches, and they said they are really expensive and they know in the long-term quitting might save them money on cigarettes, but in that moment it’s easier to go for the draw of cigarettes that are cheaper than the patches.”

Sirois said he hopes the availability and affordability of cessation products within The Corp will help students who are trying to quit.

“While I cannot speak to the exact costs of the products at this time, I can say that we sought out the most affordable products for students,” Sirois said. “We will be incredibly receptive to feedback to ensure students are satisfied with their choice of product.”

This article has been updated to correctly attribute the final quotation to Sirois.

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