Pizza and Politics: Vaping

The notion that Grandma’s are the only people who have strong opinions on vaping was proved wrong at Pizza and Politics on Oct. 16. Students gathered in the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service at Southern Utah University to discuss one of the youths’ favorite pass-times. 

The students of SUU debated a variety of subjects all pertaining to vaping. 

The specific subjects ranged from the mass media portrayal of the vaping problem, proposed laws and which are best to address vaping, unregulated vape products, vape related deaths (there are 24 in the United States as of Oct.16) and whether companies should be held accountable for health problems and death.

One of the questions with many responses from the audience was, “Is SUU’s smoking policy sufficient?” 

The current policy is that smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is prohibited within the residence halls and within 25 feet of any building on campus. There are designated smoking areas outside each building,and at the request of any staff member or resident smokers should move further away from the building.

“I think it would be sufficient if it was enforced correctly,” said Sadie Sanchez, a senior political science major. “However, I would be wary of making it too strict just because we do have a large international population at this school and… it’s culturally normal to smoke more than it would be in Utah, and so I think that we should still maintain a balance of having [a] good smoking policy but enforcing the ones that we do have.”

Other topics covered were whether or not vape companies should be subject to the same scrutiny as cigarette companies, if vape products should have the same warning labels as cigarettes, whether the legal smoking age should be federally mandated (the age ranges from 18-21 depending on the state, in Utah it is 21) and if companies should sell products with or without nicotine. 

If you would like to participate in future debates on topics like these, Pizza and Politics is held every Wednesday at 12 p.m. in ST 112.

Story by Morgan Crookston
Photos courtesy of Morgan Crookston