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SGA considers new tobacco guidelines

Written by: Joe Adgie

An early look at the results of the SGA’s tobacco survey has shown that a majority are against a proposed University System ban of all tobacco products.

The vote, as of Monday, reported that 42 percent of 486 students who responded were not in favor of the policy, while 27 percent were in favor of designated areas around campus rather than a ban.

27 percent favored the policy.

Included in the proposed ban are electronic cigarettes, something that does not sit well with many respondents of the survey.

“Electronic cigarettes are safe, have no secondhand effects, and have saved my life as well as thousands of others,” wrote one respondent. “To ban electronic cigarettes would be like banning a nicotine patch. To do so is offensive and frankly irresponsible. You would never ban life rafts from cruise ships.”

Another respondent cited the safety of the area around VSU.

“There is nowhere off campus that is safe or close enough to access if the University bans outdoor smoking,” that respondent wrote. “This is my university too. If you want people to stop smoking, outlawing it on campus isn’t the solution.”

“Seriously, when everyone’s worried about being stabbed at night on campus, I think you have more important issues to address than tobacco,” wrote another.

The proposed ban, according to the proposal, is meant to “promote the health, well-being and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” and cited studies that “have shown that tobacco use has adverse effects among tobacco users and non-users alike including respiratory disorders, heart disease and various forms of cancer with a higher mortality and morbidity rate.”

Some respondents wrote that, rather than a complete tobacco ban, VSU could support smoking cessation programs instead, where smokers would learn to completely quit smoking.

The survey runs until February 11th, and if passed, the ban would go into effect in July.

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