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WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the tobacco industry waits for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release its final deeming rule affecting electronic cigarettes, a new Gallup poll found most adults are in favor of some type of product regulation.
Specifically, 60 percent said e-cigarettes should be regulated as much as tobacco cigarettes. An additional 19 percent said e-cigarettes should be regulated, but not as much as regular cigarettes.
Seventeen percent said they should not be regulated at all.
According to Gallup, the 17 percent of U.S. adults who currently smoke tobacco cigarettes and the 19 percent who have tried e-cigarettes are somewhat less likely than U.S. adults overall to say e-cigarettes should be regulated as much as tobacco cigarettes.
However, regardless of Americans' personal experience with tobacco or e-cigarettes, the prevailing opinion is that both products should be regulated similarly, Gallup said.
In April 2014, the FDA released its proposed deeming rule, which would establish the agency's authority to regulate other tobacco products like electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookahs. The proposal is currently in the hands of the White House Office of Management and Budget for final clearance.
The Gallup poll also found that one in three said e-cigarettes are just as bad as tobacco cigarettes for someone's health, but the majority either said e-cigarettes are less harmful to one's health than tobacco cigarettes (48 percent) or are not harmful to personal health at all (11 percent).
Current tobacco cigarette smokers and those who have tried e-cigarettes are less likely than U.S. adults overall to say e-cigarettes are just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes, the poll found.
When asked about the effect of e-cigarettes on public health, half of U.S. adults said they are harmful, 14 percent said they are helpful and 28 percent said they have no effect.
Cigarette smokers and those who have tried e-cigarettes are significantly less likely than U.S. adults overall to say e-cigarettes are harmful to public health. These groups tilt toward saying e-cigarettes have no effect on public health, Gallup added.
According to the poll, U.S. adults are slightly less likely to say e-cigarettes harm the environment as they are to say the same about public health, with equal percentages saying e-cigarettes are either harmful to the environment or have no impact (40 percent).
Eleven percent believe they help the environment. Majorities of current tobacco smokers and those who have tried e-cigarettes say they have no impact on the environment, the poll added.
In addition, the Gallup poll found no consensus on whether to ban e-cigarette use in restaurants, workplaces, hotels, bars and public parks. Of these venues, U.S. adults are most likely to say e-cigarettes should be totally banned from restaurants (48 percent) and least likely to say they should be banned from public parks (29 percent).
In contrast, a majority of U.S. adults believe cigarette smoking should be illegal in all public places, Gallup added.
The survey results were based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 1-Dec. 30 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey, with a random sample of 13,648 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.