The majority of Americans support banning tobacco products for the first time in history, according to an official survey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 57.3 percent of people were in favor of ‘prohibiting the sale of all tobacco products’.
Women and young adults aged 18 to 29 years old were most likely to support banning the products — which included cigarettes, cigars as well as vapes.
Previous research indicates this is a major jump in support, with a 2018 Gallup poll suggesting 25 percent of Americans believed smoking should be outlawed.
Experts today heralded the public as ‘ahead of policymakers and even public health’, adding that it was a ‘big shift’ from just a few years ago. It comes amid surveys laying bare America’s vaping crisis — the latest tobacco trend — showed one in ten middle and high schoolers are addicted to vapes.
The CDC analyzed data from a poll of 6,455 Americans on their opinions regarding a ban on tobacco products
For the research, CDC scientists analyzed responses to a 2021 web survey on adults in the United States.
It recruited 6,455 Americans randomly by mail and was carried out by the New York-based pollster Porter Novelli who run the SpringStyles survey.
Respondents were asked whether they ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ supported or opposed the ban.
Those who ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ supported it were considered to be supporters, while those who ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ opposed it were considered to be against it.
Tobacco products were considered to include cigarettes and cigars as well as vapes, which are defined as tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Data were adjusted for demographic factors like age groups to give a suggestion of support across the US population.
Results showed a majority of women and men supported a ban on selling all tobacco products, although women were more likely to back the move.
There are growing concerns over the health risks posed by vaping
A majority of people in all age groups also supported the ban, although support was strongest among young adults aged 18 to 29 years old. It was lowest among 45 to 59-year-olds, although 55.1 percent said they would back the ban.
Among current smokers, 25.2 percent said they would support the ban.
Respondents were also surveyed on whether they wanted a ban on menthol cigarettes — the last flavored cigarette in the US.
Some 62.3 percent said they did, with the majority of people in all age groups, ethnic groups, educational attainment groups, and income groups saying they would support the move.
Among current menthol cigarette users, 36.7 percent said they would back the ban.
The CDC did not release data for what proportion of people ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ supported or opposed either policy.
There is no directly comparable poll available, but other surveys suggest that support for banning tobacco products has been rising for years.
A 1968 poll conducted for the tobacco industry found that only 13 percent of Americans believed cigarettes should be banned.
But by 2018, a Gallup poll found that 25 percent believed that smoking should be made illegal.
Dr Robert Proctor, a history professor at Stanford University, who has argued for ending the sale of tobacco products told STAT News: ‘This is a big shift from only a few years ago, when it was hard to find anyone willing to talk about the end of tobacco.’
Dr Ruth Malone, a tobacco industry researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, added to the publication: ‘The public is ahead of policymakers and even public health on this issue.
‘We need to be bold and we need to be braver.
‘There’s a lot of anxiety over calling for something bold like this.’
The CDC researchers did not suggest why support for banning tobacco sales has been rising in recent years.
But there is growing awareness among people of the health costs of smoking cigarettes and concerns over the damage vapes do to the lungs.
The FDA has announced plans to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes in the US.
By February 2022, at least 145 US communities had prohibited the sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.