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‘No chew for you’ at store

Lauren Collins, Features Editor
September 21, 2011
Filed under Features

The Pitt-Johnstown bookstore is known by some students as a convenience store, too. Products like candy, coffee and contact solution are found on the store’s shelves.

However, some students entered the bookstore upon their return to school and discovered that the selection of chewing tobacco had been removed from its usual place behind a circular counter.

Senior Nick Hudzema said he is angry about the lack of chew.

“I think it’s stupid,” he said.

Senior Tyler Briscoe said it was merely a convenience factor that’s been taken away.

“I don’t chew anymore, but, when I did, I’d buy it there. It was easier. I’d probably be kind of upset if I was still buying it,” Briscoe said.

Briscoe said that it was easier to buy chewing tobacco on campus – especially when he didn’t have a car.

“It’s a convenience store. That isn’t very convenient if you have to drive off campus to get it.”

John Ziats, manager of the Pitt-Johnstown bookstore, said that the removal of the chewing tobacco was to encourage students to be tobacco-free.

“The Health and Wellness department is offering assistance to anyone wishing to end tobacco use. We chose to end tobacco sales in the bookstore in support of that movement,” Ziats said.

He said that people expecting the tobacco products to be available haven’t been angry, but some people have questioned him about the decision.

“If people really want it, they have alternatives. We weren’t selling tons of tobacco, anyway,” he said.

Pitt-Johnstown’s neighboring community college, Penn Highlands, has a “no tobacco” policy – something that some colleges have been adopting.

Laura Bagley, manager of the Penn Highlands bookstore, said that she doesn’t sell tobacco at the store.

“Penn Highlands has designated  smoking areas in cunjunction with the nontobacco policy. Even in the parking lot, tobacco is prohibited,” Bagley said.