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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The findings of a new study reveal that the electronic cigarette restrictions enacted by municipalities across the country may not be in line with consumer sentiment.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said they would not be bothered by someone using an electronic cigarette in close proximity, according to data released today in the 2014 American E-Cigarette Etiquette Survey conducted by Harris Interactive.
The telephone survey of 1,011 adults, commissioned by Charlotte-based electronic cigarette company Mistic, is a national study to gauge U.S. opinion on e-cigarettes. The survey found that a quarter of respondents (25 percent) said they would object to someone using the device nearby.
"The electronic cigarette industry is growing rapidly here and around the world, and we want to be the first U.S. company to measure American attitudes on vaping," said John Wiesehan Jr., co-founder and CEO of Mistic. "Because the e-cigarette is a relatively new consumer product, there are a lot of questions about government regulation and whether these devices should be allowed in certain places. This survey serves as an important first step in setting the benchmark for public opinion."
The survey also asked respondents whether they would approve or disapprove of e-cigarette use at certain public places that typically ban smoking of traditional tobacco cigarettes. Of the respondents who had an opinion one way or the other, the survey found that 58 percent approved of allowing e-cigarettes at sporting events, followed by malls (47 percent), restaurants and bars (45 percent), in an office (35 percent), on public transportation (35 percent), in a movie theater (29 percent) or on an airplane (26 percent).
Broken out further, the survey found that men and women have key differences of opinion when it comes to e-cigarettes. According to Harris Interactive, 71 percent of male respondents said they would not be bothered by the use of an electronic cigarette in their vicinity, compared with 55 percent of female respondents.
The differences also carried over on the subject of allowing e-cigarettes at particular locations, such as at a restaurant or bar, where 52 percent of males who expressed an opinion were OK with the use of e-cigarettes, compared with just 38 percent of females. At a sporting event, 65 percent of males said e-cigarettes were OK, compared with 51 percent of female.
Age also plays a factor. Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of respondents aged 18 to 34 said they would not be bothered by someone using an e-cigarette in close proximity, compared to 46 percent of those aged 65 and over. In a restaurant or bar, 54 percent of the 18 to 34 age group who gave an opinion said e-cigarette use was OK, compared with just 28 percent of those aged 65 and over.
The 2014 American E-Cigarette Etiquette Survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive between Dec. 12 and Dec. 15 among 1,011 Americans aged 18 and over. Results were weighted for age, sex, geographic region, and race when necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
Mistic makes electronic cigarettes under the direction of its parent company, Ballantyne Brands. Mistic electronic cigarettes and vapor products are sold in approximately 40,000 retail outlets across the country, including Kangaroo Express, Circle K, Walmart, Walmart Neighborhood Market Stores, Rite Aid, Winn Dixie/Bi-Lo, and Food Lion.
Harris Interactive is a custom market research firm, known widely for the Harris Poll.