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New poll shows strong support for restrictions on e-cigarettes

Nov 16, 2015

A new poll shows strong support for restrictions on e-cigarettes. 

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

But industry group say more restrictions may create a kind of regulatory “prohibition”.

The latest C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan finds a majority of parents and teens agree that e-cigarettes should be restricted in public spaces, come with health warnings and be taxed like conventional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have become popular among young people.

The poll finds 14% of parents report having tried or are currently using e-cigarettes, compared to 9% of teens.

“Just as we are seeing declines in smoking of conventional cigarettes, there has been rapid growth in use of electronic cigarettes among youth,” says Matthew Davis, the poll’s director and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit of U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Scientific research on the health effects on e-cigarettes is inconclusive.  

Researchers find e-cigarettes are less dangerous than smoking tobacco, but they add not enough is known about the long-term health effects of vaping or whether vaping will discourage or encourage people to use tobacco products.

Greg Conley is with the American Vapor Association, an industry lobbying group. He says the poll’s results reflect a lack of understanding of vapor products.

“When you have a population that is confused, it’s no big surprise that they are willing to endorse heavy, big handed government regulations,’ says Conley. 

Proposed restrictions on e-cigarettes have languished in the Michigan legislature.

Earlier this year, Governor Snyder vetoed e-cigarette bills he said didn't go far enough to regulate the industry.

Michigan is one of two states that do not restrict sales to minors.  

However, that’s not preventing counties from stepping in. For example, starting in January, Ingham County will require e-cigarette vendors to have a license and prohibit sales to minors.