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February 3, 2023
3 min to read

More Than Half of Americans Favor Tobacco Prohibition

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Jim McDonald

More than half of Americans would support a ban on the sale of all tobacco products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The opinion came in responses to a 2021 survey, detailed in a paper published yesterday in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Among those surveyed, 57.3 percent strongly or somewhat supported prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products, and 62.3 percent supported a ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes.

Survey respondents were not given a definition of “tobacco products,” so it isn't known how many believed that category includes e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches. The FDA, which regulates tobacco products, does consider non-combustible consumer nicotine products to be “tobacco products.”

Last April, the FDA issued a draft rule that, if finalized, would ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. Soon after, the agency announced plans to pursue a rule that would force cigarette manufacturers to eliminate almost all nicotine in cigarettes.

What could go wrong?

— Jacob Grier (@jacobgrier) February 2, 2023

On its Twitter account, the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion editorialized about the survey results, claiming that “Policies like this can help promote quitting and reduce tobacco-related health disparities.” Neither the authors of the paper nor CDC social media accounts weighed in on the potential of such policies to create a black market and all the harms that would inevitably come with it.

The survey data came from a spring 2021 web panel of 6,455 people aged 18 or older, and were weighted to match Census Bureau proportions for demographic variables like sex, age, income, race, education and region. The data were compiled and analyzed by four scientists from the CDC Office on Smoking and Health (OSH), and one from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, a U.S. Department of Energy institution.

The survey respondents were asked, “To what extent would you support a policy to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes?” and “To what extent would you support a policy to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products?” Response options were “strongly support,” “somewhat support,” “somewhat oppose,” and “strongly oppose.”

The survey did not ask if the respondents were willing to make up the approximately $40 billion in state and federal taxes and state tobacco settlement payments that would be lost if all tobacco products were banned. That revenue would presumably be replaced by income tax increases.

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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