By Alyssa Barrett
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Amid news that electronic cigarettes have been associated with deaths and injuries and apprehension that minors may be drawn to flavored electronic cigarettes, two candidates running for student government president at Camden County College disagree about the ban on all tobacco use on campus.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and evolving evidence shows the use of electronic cigarettes can cause heart disease, lung damage and lung disease, according to the American Lung Association. As of early October, 26 deaths and 1,299 lung injury cases have been associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Youth often get hooked on e-cigarettes because they believe they are just smoking flavor but e-cigarettes often also contain nicotine and other potentially harmful substances, an article on the Fortune magazine website quotes a Dartmouth College researcher as saying. However, an article on the eCigOne website states e-cigarettes do not appear to contain carcinogens and quotes a Boston University researcher as saying few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns.
As the argument about the effects of the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes rages nationwide, the two candidates running for student government president at Camden County College have expressed contrasting opinions on whether the college’s ban on tobacco use on campus should continue to apply to vaping.
“I fully agree with the no-smoking ban,” Louis Childs-O’Dowd, one of the candidates, said on Oct. 2. However, “for something like e-cigarettes, I think they (students) should be able to do what they want. We’re all adults here at Camden County College. A lot of us are even combat veterans. So I don’t think there needs to be what amounts to a nanny state of a school telling you what you can and can’t do.”
His opposing candidate, Joseph Moore, disagreed with him. “If e-cigarettes are allowed, everything should be allowed. That way everyone’s having the same treatment,” Moore said Oct. 3. “If they’re going to ban cigarettes, they should ban all of them. If you’re not including all of them you’re just creating havoc.”
Childs-O’Dowd said if he is elected, he would try to get the e-cigarettes ban lifted by “lobbying the board of trustees and local and state officials.”
Moore said if he is elected, he would not take up the matter, stating, “I don’t think anything needs to be changed for it.”
In-person voting took place Sept. 25 and online voting will continue until Oct. 25. Results are expected to be announced Oct. 29.