According to the National Poll on Children’s Health from the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital, 44% of U.S. adults surveyed are concerned that e-cigarettes will encourage children to use tobacco products. E-cigarettes have replaceable cartridges of liquid containing nicotine, which is inhaled as a vapor along with flavors like chocolate, fruit, candy or even tobacco.
In the poll, which was administered to 2,124 adults age 18 and over, arguments were presented both for and against e-cigarettes. Then the participants were asked for their opinions about the devices and possible regulations and laws.
Of the responses, 86% of adults said they have heard of e-cigarettes, while only 13% have ever tried one. Among parents, 48 percent said they are very or somewhat concerned that their children will try e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, 65% of adults think e-cigarettes should have health warnings like tobacco cigarettes and nicotine products.
Adults also expressed widespread support for new laws regarding e-cigarettes: 88% think manufacturers should be required to test e-cigarettes for safety and 86% favor prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. 71% of adults support restricting the marketing of e-cigarettes on social networking sites.
“This poll shows high levels of concern about e-cigarettes and the possibility that kids who try them could start smoking tobacco,” says Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, director of the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
Advocates of e-cigarettes say they are a healthier alternative to tobacco smoking and argue it may help smokers to quit. Critics, on the other hand, counter that e-cigarettes may have health risks and can encourage users to smoke tobacco.
Currently, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Twenty-six states have regulations prohibiting sale to minors; Michigan’s legislature currently has bills pending that prohibit those sales.
“We hope the results of this poll spur more discussion about what governments can do to regulate e-cigarettes or restrict sales to minors. After all, taking these steps now will allow us to protect the health of both children and adults in the future.”