- 61% of Americans want the laws on e-cigarettes to be made stricter
- Majorities of all party groups back stricter policies on e-cigarettes
- Public supports lowering nicotine in cigarettes but not menthol ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Six in 10 Americans would like the laws and regulations dealing with electronic cigarettes to be stricter, a view shared by majorities of men, women and all age groups. Views on e-cigarettes are also bipartisan, with more than half of Republicans, independents and Democrats wanting stricter laws.
The latest findings, from Gallup's annual Consumption survey, conducted July 5-26, come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted in June to ban the sale of a popular brand of e-cigarettes. That decision is now under appeal.
The 61% of Americans currently in favor of stricter e-cigarette laws is slightly more than the 54% who held this view last year but similar to the 64% recorded in 2019. Across all years, few adults have said the laws for e-cigarettes should be less strict, including 7% holding this position today.
Americans Favor Taking Nicotine, but Not Menthol, Out of Cigarettes
The new poll also asked respondents their views on three policies designed to reduce Americans' use of tobacco cigarettes that are being considered in Washington, D.C. These elicit a range of responses, with partisan agreement found on only one.
- About three-quarters of U.S. adults, including solid majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats, favor requiring tobacco companies to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them less addictive. The Biden administration recently announced it is working with the FDA on this.
- Just over half of adults, 55%, are in favor of doubling the federal cigarette tax from $1.01 to $2.02 per pack, mirroring a proposal that has been made in Congress. Majorities of Democrats and independents versus 43% of Republicans favor this idea.
- Fewer than half of Americans, 42%, favor banning menthol cigarettes, with only Democrats giving majority support to this policy. The FDA is currently proposing such a ban, pointing to research that menthol increases the appeal of cigarettes to youth and young adults.
Cigarette smokers are less supportive than nonsmokers of all three proposals, but the gap is particularly wide for raising cigarette taxes.
Close to One in Five Adults Smoke Cigarettes or Vape
The latest poll finds 11% of U.S. adults reporting that they smoked cigarettes in the past week, a smaller percentage than Gallup has found previously. At the same time, 8% report that they smoked e-cigarettes or vaped in the past week, similar to what Gallup has measured since 2019.
The two groups of smokers are largely independent of each other, but 2% of adults report using both cigarette types.
E-cigarette companies market their products as a less harmful alternative to tobacco that can wean smokers away from traditional cigarettes. The sharp decline in the prevalence of tobacco smoking over the past decade, from 20% to 11%, could partially reflect the introduction of e-cigarettes. However, over just the past four years, a steady 8% of adults report that they vape, even as cigarette smoking has declined from 15% to 11%. Whether this means cigarette smokers are quitting without vaping, or only vaping for a short time, isn't clear.
Meanwhile, the dwindling percentage of smokers means there is less public opposition to policy proposals aimed at discouraging people from picking up the habit. Already there is bipartisan support for lowering nicotine in cigarettes and for regulating e-cigarettes more strictly, and that consensus may only strengthen as smoking becomes even less common.
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