The Fresh Campus Campaign is a college advocacy campaign sponsored by the Louisiana Tobacco-Free College Initiative. The objective of the Fresh Campus Campaign is to make Louisiana college campuses 100% tobacco-free. The Fresh Campus Campaign is led by students in 10 colleges and universities in Louisiana, students who are standing up to make a difference where they learn, work, and live.
Politics is a tricky business chock full of checks, balances, hidden agendas, favors and obligations. Nothing is ever quick or easy and everything, everything comes at a price. In what seems like an odd disagreement, lawmakers are standing up against the U.S. Navy because the military branch is attempting to make a healthy move.
The U.S. Navy is considering banning the sale of tobacco products on their bases and installations, a move that seems to be proposed with the health of enlisted men and women in mind. One could make the argument that our military should strive to achieve the best health they can have and eliminating tobacco products would be a no-brainer in getting there. That being said, there are several legislators who oppose the Navy’s proposed ban, claiming that banning the sale of a legal product violates the rights of enlisted people and that as an extension of the government, the Navy has an obligation to allow people to continue to buy tobacco products if they so desire. Drama.
As is usually the case, legislators don’t agree. While there are currently 18 legislators who oppose the Navy’s potential ban, there is also a group who supports it.
“We applaud your ongoing efforts to help our sailors and Marines break nicotine addiction and avoid the lifelong health complications and deaths associated with tobacco use. We urge you to do everything in your capacity to address this issue for our military men and women, including moving forward with the proposal to stop the sale of tobacco aboard all naval bases and ships,” Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wrote in a March 28 letter in support of the proposed ban.
It’s also worth noting that Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel is also a strong supporter of the ban.
“I don’t know if there’s anybody in America who still thinks that tobacco is good for you,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon in response to a question about the Navy review. “We don’t allow smoking in any of our government buildings. Restaurants, states, [and] municipalities have pretty clear regulations on this. I think in reviewing any options that we have as to whether we in the military through commissaries [or] PXs sell or continue to sell tobacco is something we need to look at. And we are looking at it. And I think we owe it to our people,” he told reporters at the Pentagon.
The debate over the ban will undoubtedly rage on and no decision (either way) will be legally finalized for a while. For the record, the legislators who oppose the ban all hail from states that serve as home to big tobacco companies.
Sometimes working backwards is the only option you have. Such is the case when it comes to selling E-Cigs to minors. Currently, most states in the U.S. don’t have laws that prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices to minors but that’s about to change.
Right now there are 29 states proposing new legislation that would prohibit the sale of any electronic nicotine-smoking device to minors. A few years back when E-Cigs were first introduced to the market, there were no laws in place to stop kids from buying them. Negligence wasn’t to blame; it’s just that federal law doesn’t move as quickly as technology. Basically, E-Cigs and vaping devices hit a market with no laws or regulation…yet.
While E-Cigs are still widely marketed and consumed as a safer-than-smoking alternative (albeit unproven) nationwide, many see them as a potential gateway into nicotine addiction for minors, who cant get regular smokes but can get E-Cigs. The 29 states seeking the regulatory laws don’t anticipate any issues in the new laws passing later this year and fully expect them to be implemented. To be fair though, may E-Cig stores and vendors have already taken it upon themselves to not allow sales to people under 18 but right now that’s a voluntary practice.