Opinion: Tobacco and Vaping Ban on Campus

Joseph Miller, Co-Editor

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It is a new year, a new decade, a new semester at school. Some students are returning to further their academic pursuits while some students are embarking on their first semesters and their first steps into adulthood.

The parents are back at home and now you can start making your own decisions and begin to mold your own mind, personality and career.

It can be an exciting adventure, however at times it may seem overwhelming.

Do not worry.

When it seems like an ocean of decisions are before, Big Daddy A&M is there to make some of those choices for you.

On October 1, 2019 John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System issued a directive banning electronic cigarettes on all Texas A&M System campuses. This naturally applies to our lovely campus.

The reasoning of this ban is in line with the growing concerns over electronic cigarettes and vaping and cites “interest of the health and wellness of the entire community.”

I find this reasoning laughable and hollow.

I find it to be a mockery to pass off a measure of assertive, patronizing control over people’s freedoms and personal choices as a magnanimous gesture about our health and wellness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in December, 52 deaths were electronic cigarettes caused or related. There were also over 2,000 people hospitalized for lung injuries caused by vaping.

Vaping is hazardous to your health. We know this, but so are many other things.

According to an estimate by The National Institutes of Health, obesity is the cause about 300,000 deaths per year. Is Big Daddy A&M going to ban all foods that are high in saturated fat or fried foods to look out for our health and wellness? Will the snack-machines and sugar crammed sodas be banned?

According to the CDC, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. In 2014, the CDC stated that an average of 155 people in the United States died each day from injuries that include a TBI. The effects of surviving a TBI can impact the remainder of the person’s life. In 2017, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed diagnosed CTE in 87% of 177 football players.

Newer and more recent studies are also beginning to study the presence of CTE in other contact sports such as soccer. Is Big Daddy A&M going to ban sports over concerns of our health and wellness?

It seems very unlikely to this reporter.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 86% of people 18 or older reported that they have drank alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also estimates that 88,000 people die yearly due to alcohol-related causes. In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving deaths tallied almost 10,000. Is Big Daddy A&M going to ban alcohol?

Nope. You can buy alcohol at football games, The Club, and now at basketball games. Not only are we not banning it, we are providing more opportunities to consume alcohol.

Other hazardous choices and activities are occurring all around this campus and some of them are statistically more hazardous to our health and wellness than electronic cigarettes.

How is such a ban supposed to be enforced? The ban applies to equilaterally to anyone on the A&M System campuses. Any visitor to sporting events or concerts is held to the same ban. Is UPD now on the lookout for any rogue vapers? Is the random citizen walking down the sidewalk that is technically on A&M property accountable? It seems like an impossibility.

I do not want to seem flippant towards these illnesses and deaths, but taking away my personal liberties and freedoms gets me worked up. Do not infringe on me and then patronize me. We would like to think that all of us here are adults or becoming adults and would very much like to be treated as such.

For now I guess we will wait until Big Daddy A&M tells us what is good for us next.

Do I hear caffeine?