Data, polls show how battleground-state voters feel about vaping bans

By The Numbers

FILE – In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago. Teen vapers prefer Juul and mint is the #1 flavor among many of them, suggesting a shift after the company’s fruit and dessert flavors were removed from retail stores, new U.S. research suggests. The results are in a pair of studies published Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, including a report from the Food and Drug Administration and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that the U.S. teen vaping epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – A recent poll is showing how vape-users in swing states feel about a possible ban, and just how political of an issue it can be.

The poll, released in late October, shows political feelings of e-cigarette consumers in some of the country’s most intense battleground states, including Florida.

Conducted by a Trump campaign poll group, McLaughlin and Associates for the Vapor Technology Association, the poll took responses from 4,700 adult vape users across 17 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Of those responses, the poll found that four in five vapor consumers — or 83 percent — are likely to decide their vote based solely on a candidate’s position on nicotine vapor products and issues. Half of those surveyed are “very” likely to be single issue voters.

According to the poll, nearly all vapor consumers in battleground states ardently oppose “banning flavors in all nicotine vapor products” with 99 percent of respondents opposing a ban.

“Supporting a ban on flavors in all nicotine vapor products is a political liability,” the poll says. “Nearly all (96 percent) vapor consumers are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports a flavor ban.”

The nation is still waiting on President Trump’s ban on flavored vaping products, which announced in Septermber and expected last week. However some public health groups aren’t holding their breath, saying the president may be too concerned of losing votes next year.

E-cigarette and cigarette use in Florida

Below are the percentages of cigarette and e-cigarette users among Florida’s adult population in 2017. Hover over the bar to see the exact percentage number.

Source: Truth Initiative

Florida has been a focal point of the vaping conversation for months, having reported 78 vaping-related illnesses and one death through the Department of Health.

Just weeks ago, Hillsborough County commissioners voted unanimously to ban businesses from selling vape devices or products to anyone younger than 21.

But many argue that in Florida, having the option to vape is leading teens and adults away from smoking.

Early this month, a Tobacco Free Florida report showed a dramatic decrease of Florida teens using tobacco products.

Smoking rates among high school students dropped from 3.5 to 2.1 percent over the past year.

Since 2007, smoking among teenagers has dropped 86 percent.

However, according to the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida— which is part of the Department of Health— nearly 25 percent of Florida high school students reported they used vaping devices in 2018. That’s a 58 percent increase compared to 2017.

E-cigarette use

Check out the increase of E-cigarette use among Florida teens between 2016 and 2018. Hover over the bar to see the exact percentage number.

Source: Tobacco Free Florida

Last month, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced an investigation against more than 20 vaping companies, including a few in the Tampa Bay area, to find out if they are intentionally targeting minors.

“As a mother, I cannot sit on the sidelines while underage vaping skyrockets and our next generation becomes addicted to nicotine,” Moody said.

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