According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and detailed in a paper published in the CDC journal Preventing Chronic Disease, more than 50 percent of Americans would support a ban on the sale of all tobacco products. The survey, conducted in 2021, revealed that 57.3 percent of respondents either strongly or somewhat supported a prohibition on the sale of all tobacco products. Additionally, 62.3 percent of respondents supported a ban on selling menthol cigarettes.
It is important to note that survey respondents were not provided with a clear definition of the term “tobacco products.” As such, it remains to be seen how many respondents believed e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches fall under this category. However, it is worth mentioning that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates tobacco products, does consider non-combustible consumer nicotine products to be “tobacco products.”
Last April, the FDA issued a draft rule that, if finalized, would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars. Following this, the agency announced its intention to pursue a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to eliminate almost all nicotine in cigarettes.
The CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recently shared the survey results on its Twitter account, highlighting that “Policies like this can help promote quitting and reduce tobacco-related health disparities.” However, there was no mention of the potential consequences of such policies, such as creating a black market, which could result in significant harm.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">What could go wrong? <a href="https://t.co/J8uvCzw33w">https://t.co/J8uvCzw33w</a></p>— Jacob Grier (@jacobgrier) <a href="https://twitter.com/jacobgrier/status/1621194107887693824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 2, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The survey was conducted in the spring of 2021 and included 6,455 participants aged 18 or older. Four scientists from the CDC Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) and one from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, a U.S. Department of Energy institution, compiled and analyzed the data.
The data were weighted to match Census Bureau proportions for demographic variables, including age, sex, income, race, education, and region.
The survey participants were asked two questions: “To what extent would you support a policy to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes?” and “To what extent would you support a policy to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products?” The response options were “strongly support,” “somewhat support,” “somewhat oppose,” and “strongly oppose.”
It is worth noting that the survey should have addressed the issue of potential revenue loss, estimated at around $40 billion in state and federal taxes and state tobacco settlement payments if all tobacco products were to be banned. The revenue needs to be replaced by increasing income taxes.