Spar University on Woudestein campus. Image credit: Iida Riikinsaari

According to Van Elswijk, SPAR University works closely with the Sustainability Hub to make the products they offer more sustainable and healthy. According to the company, stopping the sale of tobacco products on university grounds is an appropriate first step towards a smoke-free generation. Van Elswijk says that most of the students have responded positively to the decision and even stated that this would be a good time to consider quitting.

Concern for health or a vanity project?

To smoking EUR students, SPAR University’s decision to stop selling tobacco products seems generally inconvenient but also understandable. “If the campus wants to be smoke-free, that’s fine. Smoking isn’t really a good thing anyway”, contemplates Anna, a 27-year-old master’s student and a smoker herself. Henrique, 26, a master’s student, agrees: “I think [the decision] is quite alright, there are bigger issues to be concerned about.” Tijl, 22, a law student, follows the same thinking. “I think that everyone will eventually have to stop smoking so in that sense it is a positive change”, he says.

Not everyone at EUR is completely happy with the decision, however. “Those who want to smoke will find a way despite this”, believes Malti, an IBA student. “The decision to stop smoking ultimately comes from the individual himself and I think this will only decrease SPAR’s profit.” Ewan, a 21-year-old exchange student at EUR, is also wondering about the motivations behind the decision: “It feels more like a marketing campaign for EUR than a genuine concern for health”, he says. “I think they’re only stopping the sale of cigarettes on campus because it is nowadays socially less acceptable to smoke”.

SPAR University’s decision to quit tobacco sales fits into recent discussions around smoking on campus. Erasmus University states that it aims for a smoke-free campus in the nearby future and will communicate about the changed smoking policy during the next academic year.

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