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VTA Release: New Poll: 1,800 Swing State Voters Reveal Fair and Reasonable Regulation Needed for Flavored E-Cigarettes

A statewide survey in three key 2024 battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania reveals voters are poised to reward those elected officials who reassess outright bans on flavored e-cigarettes and work towards science-based solutions that are less extreme and do not erode basic freedoms

Washington, D.C. – Monday, July 8, 2024 – The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) today released polling from American pollster Kellyanne Conway which reveals that once American voters are armed with the facts and scientific studies showing that e-cigarettes are a proven smoking cessation tool for adults, their opinions not only dramatically change, but a majority become opposed to continuing Administration efforts to eliminate flavored e-cigarettes.

The polling, which was a statewide survey of 600 registered voters in Michigan, 600 registered voters in Wisconsin, and 600 registered voters in Pennsylvania, reveals that a majority of Americans support fair and reasonable regulations that would preserve flavored e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool for adults while also safeguarding youth through marketing and advertising restrictions.

“Americans continue to reject outright bans on popular, legal everyday consumables. Whether it’s social media apps, gas-powered cars, gas stoves, nicotine pouches, menthol cigarettes, or flavored vaping products, said Kellyanne Conway. “In this survey, we find voters favor common-sense reform over outright bans that put science over politics, to reduce harm and protect vulnerable communities like youth.”

The polling shows a dramatic “information underload” among the American public as only 12% believe that vaping is better than smoking cigarettes, while an astonishing 75% believe vaping is as bad as or worse than smoking. This is the direct result of the FDA’s failure to truthfully and adequately inform Americans about the dramatically lower risks of vaping, particularly when compared to cigarettes, even though their leaders have admitted to that fact. Further, the results illustrate the power of education and the danger of failing to honestly present the science when it comes to the issue of flavored e-cigarettes.

What’s also clear in the polling is voters question why their elected officials at the state and federal levels prioritize flavored e-cigarette bans and restrictions over more obvious and urgent concerns – issues that worry them and will influence their electoral choices this fall. Importantly, survey participants suggest that they are poised to reward those elected officials who reassess outright bans on flavored e-cigarettes and work towards science-based solutions that are less extreme and do not erode basic freedoms.

“The latest polling conducted across Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin further reinforces what VTA has long maintained: When presented with factual information, American voters accept the importance of vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool and then question regulators constant derogation of flavored e-cigarettes,” said Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association. “Voters are not stupid; they have just been negligently misinformed by FDA leaders for years. Today’s poll reveals not only the importance of changing public perceptions about vaping, but also highlights the political dangers of continuing down the path the FDA is on. It’s clear that voters across party lines are receptive to evidence-based approaches that balance adult access to smoking cessation tools with youth protection measures.”

Key findings included in the statewide polling results:

  • Initial public opinion on vaping is largely negative, with 75% of voters believing it is as bad as or worse than smoking cigarettes. However, providing factual information about vaping’s effectiveness in smoking cessation and its economic impact significantly shifts public opinion against current government efforts to ban flavored vaping.
  • In each state, after being informed of studies and opinions of America’s leading tobacco control scientists, public support for a ban on flavored vaping products flipped from a majority in favor to a majority opposed.
    • In Pennsylvania, voters went from 58% in favor of a flavored vaping ban to 54% opposed after receiving basic publicly available information.
    • In Michigan, we saw the same result, with voters going from 55% in favor to 54% opposed.
    • In Wisconsin, voters went from 62% in favor to 51% opposed.
    • These trends held true for key voting groups, particularly Republicans, Independents, women, and suburban voters.
  • Scientific studies showing vaping’s efficacy in helping Americans quit smoking are particularly persuasive in changing voters’ minds.
  • Voters tend to agree with statements that advocate for less government intrusion and present vaping as a harm-reduction tool for adult smokers.
  • Post-COVID, trust in public health agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has decreased, with an incredible 6 in 10 voters agreeing that politics and not science drive such agencies.
    • Large majorities of swing state voters question why government officials are focused on less urgent issues, such as flavored vaping bans, while ignoring more important issues (70% in Pennsylvania, 67% in Michigan, and 71% in Wisconsin).
    • Even larger majorities of swing state voters support “an aggressive public education campaign that informs adult cigarette smokers about the benefits of alternatives like vaping products or nicotine pouches” (80% in Pennsylvania, 81% in Michigan, and 82% in Wisconsin).
  • Importantly, a large majority of swing state voters overwhelmingly agree with VTA’s commonsense calls for marketing and advertising restrictions on vaping products rather than banning them (70% in Pennsylvania, 65% in Michigan, and 66% in Wisconsin).
    • Specifically, over 80% of swing state voters agree that we should “protect youth by implementing marketing restrictions.”
  • Significant majorities of swing state voters agree that rather than banning vaping products, the FDA should “instead focus on harm reduction and [do] everything they can to fill the marketplace with next-generation nicotine products to give Americans as many safe options as possible to quit smoking deadly cigarettes” (60% in Pennsylvania, 59% in Michigan, and 58% in Wisconsin).

The survey results from VTA, released today with Kellyanne Conway, once again underscore not only that the public does not trust the FDA’s decision-making process on e-cigarettes but also that the FDA is clearly headed in the wrong direction and not focused on rational solutions. Hence, VTA’s call that the FDA, specifically the Center for Tobacco Products, end its de facto ban on flavored e-cigarettes and immediately reverse course on its misinformation campaign is now more important than ever if the FDA has any chance to preserve or restore credibility on the high profile issue of flavored e-cigarettes.

Voters can easily see through the system that the FDA has set up and strongly support commonsense efforts to address youth vaping.  FDA and CTP must stop selectively ignoring the science on flavored e-cigarettes and create a new streamlined product standard regulation that will allow independent companies of all sizes to get less harmful nicotine alternatives on the market, as was the intent of the Tobacco Control Act.

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