Two-Thirds of Americans Down With Indoor Vaping

Mistic-sponsored survey reveals differing opinions based on age, gender

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

E-Cig Etiquette

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Yesterday, Harris Interactive released its findings from the first national study to examine public opinions on e-cigarette usage and etiquette. Sponsored by electronic cigarette manufacturer Mistic, Harris Interactive surveyed 1,011 adults via phone and found that 63% of participants would not object to someone using an electronic cigarette in close proximity (25% said they would).

“The electronic cigarette industry is growing rapidly, and we want to be the first U.S. company to measure American attitudes on vaping,” said John Wiesehan Jr., Mistic’s co-founder and CEO. “Because (it’s) a relatively new consumer product, there are a lot of questions about whether these devices should be allowed in certain places. This survey serves as an important first step in setting the benchmark for public opinion.”   

Additionally, the study tracked the public’s opinion on electronic cigarette use in areas that have banned smoking. The majority of respondents (58%) were okay with vaping at sporting events, whereas they were more split on e-cig use at malls (with 47% in favor), as well as restaurants and bars (45%). The support fell when asked about vaping in an office (35%), on public transportation (35 %), in a movie theater (29%) or on an airplane (26%).

“As the popularity of e-cigarettes rise, their regulation at locations like bars and restaurants has become a very hot topic,” Wiesehan said. “Because they look like traditional tobacco cigarettes, there might be an immediate reaction to ban them on the spot. The fact is e-cigarettes don’t possess any of the negative attributes commonly associated with traditional tobacco. There is no smoke, only vapor, and they don’t smell, they don’t invade clothes or leave ash or stubs. More importantly, many of the negative side effects associated with smoking are minimized by switching to e-cigarettes.”

The survey also revealed different levels of support based on age and gender: almost three-quarters (70%) of 18-34 year old respondents said they would not be bothered by nearby e-cigarette use, whereas that figure dropped to 46% with respondents 65 and over; 71% of male respondents were okay with vaping in their vicinity, as opposed to just 55% of females.

To support the survey, Wiesehan took to Twitter to answer questions about electronic cigarettes, addressing a variety of issues.

With so many people opposed to e-cig use on airplanes and public transit, Wiesehan said the issue came down to education. “As CEO, let us continue to work with airlines so we can make progress on that front for vapers everywhere,” he said, adding that consumers should “feel free to write the airline you book with directly to push on this effort getting e-cigs accepted in more areas.”

When asked how to deal with anti-vapers, Wiesehan suggested the proper etiquette was to “be respectful and ask if it's okay to vape around them.”

“We’re trying to understand the etiquette of this era,” he continued, “but the days of smelling like traditional smoke are over!”