Background In April 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a rule to extend its tobacco regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, which have been unregulated and growing in use since their 2006–2007 US introduction. The FDA will issue a final rule based on comments and data received from researchers, tobacco companies and the public. We aimed to present data about current smokers’ awareness of and attitudes towards potential e-cigarette regulation and various policies in the USA.
Methods We conducted a cross-sectional online e-cigarette focused survey of 519 adult current smokers in April 2014, before the FDA's proposed rule was announced. Participants were recruited from a private research panel (GFK's Knowledge Networks) designed to be representative of the US population.
Results The majority of respondents (62.5%) did not know that e-cigarettes are unregulated by the FDA but agreed that e-cigarettes should be regulated by the FDA for safety and quality (83.5%), carry warning labels about their potential risks (86.6%) and have the same legal age of sale as other tobacco (87.7%). Support was similarly high among current e-cigarette users. Support was substantial though lower overall for policies to restrict e-cigarette indoor use (41.2%), flavouring (44.3%) and advertising (55.5%), and was negatively associated with current e-cigarette use.
Conclusions Support for many e-cigarette regulatory policies is strong among smokers, including for policies that the FDA has recently proposed and potential future regulations. States considering indoor e-cigarette restrictions should know that a substantial number of current smokers support such regulations.
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