Ken Alltucker USA TODAY
Published 2:37 PM EDT Oct 2, 2019
Americans strongly support making vaping companies list all ingredients and health risks on product labels and barring teens from buying the electronic nicotine-delivery devices, a new USA TODAY/Ipsos survey showed.
But 59% surveyed agree a ban on vaping will drive more consumers to the unregulated black market, the poll said.
States and cities are enacting restrictions as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigates 12 deaths and 805 cases of vaping-related lung injury in 46 states and one territory. The vast majority of cases involved people vaping the cannabis ingredient THC, alone or with nicotine.
Massachusetts last week announced a four-month ban on all vaping devices and flavors. Michigan, New York and Rhode Island have moved to restrict flavoring for the devices, also known as e-cigarettes. Cities such as San Francisco also have banned the sale and distribution of vaping devices.
The online survey had responses from 1,006 adults, including 67 people who said they currently vape. The survey’s credibility interval – a measure similar to the margin of error – was 3.5 percentage points for all respondents.
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While more than 8 in 10 people agree people under 21 should not be able to legally buy vaping devices, opinions were split on whether to set more restrictions. The poll said 52% support banning flavored vape juices, but only 20% of vapers favor a flavor ban.
Older adults also favor more restrictions. Among survey respondents over 55, 63% support a vaping ban, and 72% favor banning flavors. About one in three adults aged 18-34 favor banning vaping or banning flavors.
Most survey respondents said there isn’t enough research or they don’t know whether vaping is safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Charlotte Raynor, 61, of Ashkum, Illinois, turned to vaping a decade ago after other tobacco-cessation products such as Chantix failed to wean her from a smoking habit she developed as a teenager.
“I tossed my cigarettes and started vaping,” says Raynor, who used both mint and cherry-flavored e-juice and gradually lowered her nicotine intake until she quit.
Raynor said she has no desire to return to smoking or vaping, but she worries vaping restrictions might imperil others who depend on the devices to quit smoking.
“They are going overboard trying to invoke these laws on adults,” Raynor says. “People will go to the black market and get them anyway. I don’t like that because there will be more deaths, more illnesses.”
Nearly 2 in 3 vapers said they used nicotine e-liquid juice, and more than half said they vaped flavors. About one in four vapers surveyed said they used THC e-liquid juice, and fewer said they vaped non-THC forms of cannabis.
The poll said 82% of vapers agreed that people will purchase from the non-regulated black market if vaping is banned. Another 72% of vapers said government regulations will not reduce the number of people who vape.
Jeff Fu, 46, of Los Angeles, began vaping cannabidiol to recover from a stroke. He said he purchases products only from larger, more established vendors “because they are going to back up their product.” He avoids fly-by-night internet retailers.
“If you buy from some random internet company run out of some guy’s garage, there’s nobody to sue in case things go wrong,” Fu says.