A new study says nearly two-thirds of Americans are not bothered by electronic cigarette use in public–an opinion that presents a stark contrast with many lawmakers in Washington.
The study, conducted by Harris interactive, comes about a month after a group of Democratic senators demanded an apology from the Hollywood Foreign Press and NBC for airing footage of celebrities smoking e-cigarettes during the Golden Globes. The senators claimed the footage during NBC’s live broadcast encouraged teenagers to begin using e-cigarettes, but makers of those products strongly disagree.
“You have to start with who the target consumer is. We go after the current smoker,” Mistic CEO John Wiesehan, Jr. said in the company press release. “We’re not trying to attract those who don’t already smoke.”
But it’s not only the e-cigarette corporations who’ve backed the product’s use. The new study shows 71% of men and 55% of women surveyed were not bothered by e-cigarette use in their vicinity while out in public. At sporting events, 58% said they didn’t mind somebody using an electronic cigarette near them. But only 26% of those surveyed approved of e-cigarette usage on planes.
“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,” Wiesehan said.
Last month, the senators argued that they believe images of celebrities using e-cigarettes “glamorizes” the product and encourages teenagers to begin smoking. “We are troubled that these images glamorize smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to begin smoking traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes.”
But Wiesehan disagrees. “What they neglect to see is the things we get from consumers every day who smoked one…two…three packs a day and can breathe now and exercise now that they switched to e-cigarettes,” he responded. “Our study shows the consumers are pretty smart. They get it.”