Editorial: GSB should not preemptively restrict freedoms


GSB should not suggest any bans on e-cigarettes without the presence of fact to back up claims of possible danger.

Editorial Board

At the Government of the Student Body meeting Feb. 4, the Senate approved to send a resolution to the university administration, asking the members to ban the use of electronic cigarettes and all other nicotine delivery systems from campus. The Senate said it was for preventative measures because there aren’t enough studies that show e-cigarettes do or do not inflict direct harm on others who are not using the device.

Nathan Davis, senior in food science, and the Health Promotion Club presented information at the last GSB meeting that he and the club obtained by doing a survey of Story County residents to hear their views on e-cigarettes. While some members expressed concern with how harmful they thought e-cigarettes were, no one from the survey was actually an ISU student, according to Davis.

The fact there isn’t conclusive evidence to say, “yes or no, e-cigarettes are harmful to others,” is the exact reason the university should not ban them from campus.

Some members shared experiences of students smoking e-cigarettes in class and they found it to be very distracting. Senate members took those stories into consideration when deciding their proposal for the university administration. However, the cases of a few students should not be the end to an uninformed decision to ban e-cigarettes on campus.

While there should be a certain restriction from smoking e-cigarettes in classrooms or even in buildings, why should a student be banned from smoking his or her e-cigarette while walking across Central Campus or waiting for a bus outside of the Memorial Union? Just because we are unsure about the potential risks of something does not mean we should make hasty decisions to recommend restricting students from partaking in the activity.

Technology has made insurmountable advancements in the past 20-25 years, e-cigarettes being one of them. When the electronic email first came out, the fear of mail being lost, hacked and viruses uploaded into the emails were, and still are, very much alive. When eHarmony made its debut, people were, and still are, concerned about being catfished by an anonymous person on the other side of the keyboard. Yet here we are with those two mediums not banned from society. And while email and eHarmony are very broad and larger-scale topics than e-cigarettes on campus, we cannot make the decision to ban a material when we don’t know enough about it and claim it’s “a preventative measure.”

If it is found through scientific research that e-cigarettes are dangerous and prove a risk to others, as traditional cigarettes do, then the ban should indeed be proposed. However, to preemptively restrict the freedoms of citizens without sufficient evidence of danger is not in line with the American way of life. Nor is it the responsibility of GSB to decide what is best for students in absence of evidence or facts.