When the state of California rolled out its decision to raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 last June, Pomona College’s Coop Store followed suit. If you’re under 21 at the Claremont Colleges, no more cigarettes from the Coop Store—and no more legal tobacco buying.
Aurea Kasberg, assistant manager at the Coop Store, said that this decision was made because Pomona’s student population is largely under 21. Daniela Hinojosa PO ’19, a clerk at the Coop Store, noted that student employees will no longer be put in the uncomfortable position of feeling pressure to sell cigarettes to students under 21 and to students with fake IDs.
Brenda Schmit, manager of the Coop Store, has been working for Pomona for 23 years and said that the Coop Store has a long history of selling cigarettes. According to Schmit, parents and students have expressed disapproval of the Coop Store’s sale of cigarettes in the past. Additionally, a former ASPC president campaigned to have cigarettes removed from the Coop Store several years ago.
According to Schmit, the Coop Store sold an average of 100 packs a week last year. 10 years ago, however, she said the Coop Store sold about 350 packs a week, and cigarette sales were significantly higher than they have been in recent years.
Wendy Noreña, Coop Store assistant manager, said that cigarette profits in spring 2015 were $4,280.28, compared to $3,250.59 in spring of 2016. This decrease in cigarette sales is reflective of a larger downward trend of cigarette sales since the Coop Store’s inception.