Poll: Most Americans see e-cigarettes as harmful, favor regulation

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A new poll by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and STAT finds that most Americans (65%) believe that electronic cigarettes are harmful to people who use them. That’s less than those who believe that tobacco cigarettes are harmful (96%) but more than those who believe that marijuana is harmful (58%). The poll also found broad approval for regulating e-cigarettes, a move currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration.

The results of the poll, published November 9, 2015, showed that most Americans favor federal regulations on e-cigarettes that would put the products on equal footing with tobacco cigarettes, such as banning sales to minors and adding warning labels to packaging; however, fewer than half supported banning the use of flavorings in the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

“They believe it’s less harmful than tobacco, but they do think it is harmful, and that sets off all the other answers,” said Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Public Health and Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis, who directed the poll.