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In the first U.S. study of its kind, almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, say they wouldn’t be bothered by someone using an electronic cigarette near them, according to the 2014 American E-Cigarette Etiquette Survey conducted by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive and commissioned by e-cig manufacturer Mistic.
Conversely, the telephone survey of 1,011 adults found that a quarter of Americans -- 25 percent -- would object to someone using such a device close by.
“The electronic cigarette industry is growing rapidly here and around the world, and we want to be the first U.S. company to measure American attitudes on vaping,” said John Wiesehan Jr., co-founder and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Mistic. “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. This survey serves as an important first step in setting the benchmark for public opinion.”
The survey also asked participants whether they would approve of e-cigarette use at certain public places that normally ban the smoking of traditional tobacco products, finding that among those that had an opinion either way, 58 percent of respondents had no problem with e-cigs being used used at sporting events, followed by malls (47 percent), restaurants and bars (45 percent), offices (35 percent), on public transportation (35 percent), in movie theaters (29 percent) or on airplanes (26 percent).
Interestingly, the survey discovered that men and women diverge in their opinions regarding e-cigarettes. Men were generally more tolerant of their use, with 71 percent saying they wouldn’t be bothered by the use of an electronic cigarette in their vicinity, versus 55 percent of women. Differences also arose when it came to permitting e-cig use at particular locations, with 52 percent of men who expressed an opinion all right with their use in bars and restaurants, compared with 38 percent of women. At sporting events, 65 percent of men approved of e-cigs, while 51 percent of women had a similar opinion.
Further, there was a considerable generational gap in e-cigarette attitudes, the survey found. While nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of Americans ages 18-34 said they had no problem with someone using an e-cigarette close by them, 46 percent of those ages 65 and over approved of such use. In a restaurant or bar, 54 percent of the 18-34 age group who offered an opinion said e-cig use was permissible, versus 28 percent of those ages 65 and up.