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New Poll Shows E-Cigarette Users Could Be a Force in U.S. Midterm Elections

Joymy Reports -- A new HarrisX poll shows that e-cigarette users could be a powerful force in the U.S. midterm elections in 2022, less than a month from now, according to a foreign news release. That could be bad news for Democrats in Congress, most of whom follow Democratic Party party guidance and support tax and flavor restrictions on nicotine e-cigarette products.

Polls estimate that 29 percent of all registered voters have smoked an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. This is an important part of the voting population that lawmakers and candidates should be listening to. Of these, 51 percent smoke e-cigarettes daily and 54 percent no longer use combustible tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars.

Among registered voters surveyed by HarrisX who use e-cigarettes, 68 percent said they are somewhat or very likely to vote for a candidate based solely on their consistency on e-cigarette issues. Among those who identify themselves as Democrats, an even higher percentage (79%) say they are likely to vote based solely on e-cigarette policies.

Voters who use e-cigarettes are mostly loyal to their party

Of those surveyed, 65 percent said they are certain or likely to vote in the Nov. 8 election. Most importantly, 78% of e-cigarette users surveyed said they are somewhat or very likely to speak out on issues related to e-cigarettes. This could make them influential among non-e-cigarette voters in their circles.

However, e-cigarette users who identify with both major political parties remain mostly loyal to their tribe. Democrats who have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days generally approve of President Joe Biden's performance (88% vs. 30% of Republican e-cigarette users). A majority of e-cigarette users from both parties say they are likely to vote for their party's congressional candidate (94% Democrats, 87% Republicans).

The survey, conducted by HarrisX in early October, polled 1,519 registered voters who have used e-cigarette products in the past 30 days. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

According to HarrisX, the results were weighted by gender, age, income, race/ethnicity, education and political party within the U.S. to align them with the actual percentage of each country's population.

The poll was commissioned by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a conservative organization that advocates lower taxes and limits the power of government taxation.

ATR, which has supported e-cigarettes for years. also commissioned a poll of e-cigarette users in 2019 to make the case to President Donald Trump about the political risks he would take by banning flavored e-cigarette products. atr also sponsored the current We Vape We Vote '22 Tour.

More Republicans oppose restrictions than Democrats, but it's close

Many of the answers on specific policies suggest that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support taxation and regulation - or even policies that limit the ability of e-cigarette users to access their favorite products. This finding suggests that a large percentage of e-cigarette smokers know very little about the issue, and that most are not immune to news coverage that over-represents an anti-e-cigarette position. (Remember, too, that half of the voters surveyed do not smoke e-cigarettes daily and about half still do.)

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A stunning 48% of e-cigarette voters support a ban on the sale of e-cigarette products online, more so among Democrats (58%) than Republicans (37%). Closer, but still troubling, is that 44% of respondents support banning e-cigarette flavors, including 51% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans.

Some of the responses on specific policy positions reflect a general distrust of federal agency regulation among Republicans (and support for federal agency regulation among Democrats), but a surprisingly large portion of Republicans also support restrictive rules.

Most people who use e-cigarettes are just as susceptible as the general public to misinformation that influences the public discourse surrounding e-cigarettes.

For example, 62 percent of voters who have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days support requiring all e-cigarette products to comply with FDA-mandated rules that could take many products off the market. While more Democrats (73%) support this position, 52% of Republicans also agree with it.

Even the most common e-cigarette users do not consider themselves e-cigarette users, in the sense that they are part of a movement and are not particularly knowledgeable about the issues surrounding e-cigarettes or politically active on behalf of the rights of e-cigarette users. Most people who use e-cigarettes are just as susceptible as the general public to misinformation that affects the public discourse around e-cigarettes.

Yet, they know they enjoy smoking e-cigarettes. They intend to continue to do so - even as lawmakers and regulators try to stop them.

29% of e-cigarette users will ignore flavor bans and buy illegal products

Despite their respective reactions to particular policy positions, registered voters on both sides who use e-cigarettes generally believe that the federal government should not prevent them from using e-cigarettes as a harm reduction tool.

Reacting to statements that the government should not create barriers, such as taxes and restrictions on e-vapor products, for adults who want to use alternatives to cigarettes, a whopping 83 percent of those who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days strongly or somewhat agree, including 86 80 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans. 84 percent agree that the government should not deny adults the right to enjoy legal products.

If the government did try to eliminate their e-cigarette choices, what would they do? If Congress or the FDA were to ban flavored e-cigarette products, 21% say they would use unflavored (possibly including tobacco-flavored) e-cigarettes. Another 31% said they would switch to tobacco products (a group that likely includes many of the 46% of people who still smoke).

However, 29% responded that they would find another way to obtain flavored products. Another way is to participate in the black market.

Nearly a third of registered e-cigarette voters - about 10 percent of the entire voting population - are willing to ignore any federal ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone - especially the FDA - because the market for gray and black e-cigarette products is already operating. When the FDA removed enforcement discretion to protect flavored cartridge-based e-cigarette products nearly three years ago, a large percentage of e-cigarette consumers responded by switching to flavored disposable e-cigarettes.

The disposable e-cigarette market is now approaching the size of the legal market in the convenience store/gas station segment. If Congress or the FDA bans flavored products altogether, the demand for flavored products will not go away. Instead, the gray and black markets will rapidly expand to meet demand.

Congressional candidates should take note of the survey responses. Nearly one-third of registered e-cigarette voters - about 10 percent of the entire voting population - are willing to ignore any federal ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

Regardless of the candidates' personal beliefs about e-cigarettes, ignoring the reality that the majority of the public is willing to ignore the law and participate in illegal businesses to obtain flavored products should give them pause in passing the law. Congress should accept reality and acknowledge the desires of this important group of voters.