Campus Controversy


The following are two articles on similar subjects


All students breathe free, but some breathe more free than others

By George Salis

I don’t smoke. And I think those that do probably fit under some psychological category of “death-denier.” But smoking or not is a lifestyle choice.

A press release from our soon-to-be tobacco-free campus, titled “Breathe Free at Stetson University,” explains that “the policy prohibits all forms of tobacco use including e-cigarettes and a variety of smokeless products on Stetson buildings, structures, grounds, parking lots, and in university and personal vehicles while on Stetson grounds.” The overall claimed reason is for a healthier campus.

So why not ban sodas that are shown to cause diabetes, why not all the sugar candy in the one-stop store, why not alcohol?

Addressing the latter, 1920s prohibition didn’t work, and for a simple reason: forcing lifestyle choices doesn’t change anyone. Similar to the failed “War on Drugs,” which has succeeded in wasting billions of taxpayer dollars while putting countless people in prison for nonviolent “crimes.”

The problems of alcohol abuse, soda abuse,and tobacco abuse (or use in general) can be solved with only one initiative: education—something that Stetson University should be and is familiar with. Education influences and empowers and, when done effectively, changes lives. Education is also conducive to freedom.

In contrast, absolute prohibition and meddling in the personal lifestyle choices of individuals are not characteristics of freedom and are the usual methods of iron-fisted regimes.

Is Stetson University like North Korea? Of course not.

But if Stetson values freedom and education, which I would hope it does, then it should use precisely those avenues and the tools associated with freedom to influence people to lead more positive lives and make beneficial decisions.

Stetson can continue to reasonably protect non-smokers from a smoker’s second-hand smoke, as it has been doing, without sacrificing freedom, by means of smoking areas and rules that ban smoking at a certain distance from buildings and air vents. Rules of this nature can and should be enforced because they keep intact the freedom of both the smoker and the non-smoker—they are sensible and reasonable.

If the university is so concerned with their students’ health, they will focus on educational programs that will allow us to be cognizant of the consequences of smoking and programs that offer quitting assistance, but they can’t expect students to be forced into quitting.

What choice does someone who lives on campus (or one who attends Stetson frequently for class or work, etc.) have in the matter if just about everything related to tobacco is banned on the campus?

The answer is none.

Promoting is different from forcing. Programs that encourage students to quit and those that teaches about the dangers to health that smoking causes are much more conducive to freedom and education rather than prohibition.

This attack on freedom must end before it begins in August.

 Issue 17 Final-9


Smoke on the water: Smoking E-Cigarettes is still smoking

By Alissa Pagano

The future is here, people. A future free of smoke pollution, lung disease and oh so many types of cancers.

“Coffin nails”—excuse me, cigarettes—are going to be very durable in this future, too, when instead of leaves rolled in paper they will be constructed of electronics and tubing.

Wait, did no one actually shove cigarettes into coffins as nails to keep them shut? Well the point still stands: glorious, clean future and all that.

This is what proponents of e-cigarettes might like us to believe. In the past seven years since market introduction, this tobacco-free alternative has carved itself a reliable niche in the industry.

You may have seen the advertisements lately—they’ve been multiplying. Their guiding principle is that the nicotine fix itself is totally dandy, and so they will deliver it in hot bursts of largely harmless vapor, which may or may not be flavored.

Even big tobacco stepped in with its own versions of the electric cigarette, momentarily forgetting which team they bat for (before remembering that they swing for the money).

I saw my first commercial for a Blu brand cigarette when I was in middle school—it was an intriguing black and white, highlighting the blue pop on the end of their electric cigarettes, and it was mostly comprised of a handsome, scruffy man telling me how he wasn’t actually smoking. It was just water vapor and I thought that was neat, because I’ve always been attracted to the physical mechanics of smoking.

Luckily I wasn’t a rebel, and definitely not motivated, so I never got my hands on one because nicotine is what will get you hooked, and even if you aren’t inhaling tar and carcinogens necessarily, it can be a dangerous addiction.

But hell, apparently they sell nicotine-free cartridges, and with flavors like caramel mocha frappe, cinnamon roll, and waffle. Who could refuse? Actually, just buy yourself a plate of waffles and a cup of coffee, it’s still way cheaper.

The point is, no one without a pre-established smoking habit needs to indulge in e-cigarettes. They are a cleaner, safer way to be weaned off nicotine—or, alternatively, give chain smokers a lovely trick to save some money in the long run—and that’s about it.

End of debate.

The nasty little truth is anyone who latches onto e-smoking probably would have done the same with real cigarettes at some point, too. The problem is nobody knows yet. The statistics just aren’t there. So, while we wait around for the FDA regulations, the inevitable bell curve of popularity, and the eventual leveling of the big tobacco playing field (or maybe while we wait for a fad to blow over), let’s make a toast to our clean, bright, happily-addicted futures. That’s what science alarmingly predicts, according to some.

So raise your electric gaspers up high and bust out the appropriate party vapor: piña colada or peach schnapps tonight?