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62 Percent Think E-Cigarette Use in Public Should be Allowed Despite Expected FDA Regulations

Time magazine says, "Regulations of electronic cigarettes are expected to be a top priority for states and cities in 2014." Indeed, many districts have placed or are considering placing bans on the tobacco-free nicotine delivery devices and the Food and Drug Administration plans this month to issue guidelines regulating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product. But Americans don’t want the government interfering with people’s ability to use e-cigarettes.

The new Reason-Rupe poll finds that 62 percent of Americans think the government should allow people to use tobacco-free electronic cigarettes in public places while 34 percent say the government should prohibit this activity.

Non-partisan independents (66 percent) and independents who lean Republican (68 percent) are more likely than Democrats (58 percent) to think government should allow people to use e-cigarettes in public places. Nevertheless, majorities of all political groups think electronic cigarettes should be allowed, including 63 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Independents who lean Democratic.

Self-identified libertarians are 22 points more likely than self-identified liberals to say the government should allow this activity (77 percent to 55 percent).

Older Americans are much more opposed than younger Americans to e-cigarette use in public.  Forty-two percent of people ages 55 and over favor a government ban on the public use of e-cigarettes while just 29 percent of Americans under age 35 agree.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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