Most Americans believe electronic cigarettes are harmful to people’s health and support stricter government regulations surrounding their use, according to a new national poll.
The results of the newly released report conducted by STAT and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, could bolster the Food and Drug Administration as it moves to regulate e-cigarettes for the first time, STAT News reported, adding that there is solid support for a broad range of government restrictions among both Democrats and Republicans.
“The FDA can and must do more to further regulate and restrict the sale of deadly tobacco products on the market,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal was quoted in a related News Times article. “The evidence is clear on the harmful, addictive nature of e-cigarettes, and the FDA must … ensure the public is aware of and protected from the harmful effects of these products.”
E-cigarettes have been around only since 2004 — too little time for researchers to have completed definitive studies on their health effects — but they are more popular among teenagers than conventional cigarettes, STAT News stated, adding that 65 percent of adults believe e-cigarettes are harmful to users’ health, less than the 58 percent who said the same thing about marijuana.
Nine out of 10 Americans support banning e-cigarette sales to minors while seven out of 10 support the banning of e-cigarettes indoors, and six out of 10 said the government should ban e-cigarette ads on TV, STAT reported, adding that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans support taxing e-cigarettes like tobacco products are taxed.
“For a new product … you wouldn’t have expected that people would have reached as firm a judgment about this as they have,” the STAT report quoted Robert Blendon, the professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard who directed the study. “Their responses are nearly identical to what you find asking about tobacco cigarettes.”
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, the main advocacy group for e-cigarette makers, blamed the poll results on “unethical propaganda campaigns” against e-cigarettes that have led to “a confused populace,” the STAT News article stated.
“This poll is not measuring public opinion, but the effectiveness of a well-funded corporate strategy to destroy a category that is eroding a cash cow for Big Pharma,” he was quoted.