Publication Abstract

Authors: Sanders-Jackson A, Tan AS, Bigman CA, Mello S, Niederdeppe J

Title: To Regulate or Not to Regulate? Views on Electronic Cigarette Regulations and Beliefs about the Reasons for and against Regulation.

Journal: PLoS One 11(8):e0161124-

Date: 2016

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Policies designed to restrict marketing, access to, and public use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are increasingly under debate in various jurisdictions in the US. Little is known about public perceptions of these policies and factors that predict their support or opposition. METHODS: Using a sample of US adults from Amazon Mechanical Turk in May 2015, this paper identifies beliefs about the benefits and costs of regulating e-cigarettes and identifies which of these beliefs predict support for e-cigarette restricting policies. RESULTS: A higher proportion of respondents agreed with 8 different reasons to regulate e-cigarettes (48.5% to 83.3% agreement) versus 7 reasons not to regulate e-cigarettes (11.5% to 18.9%). The majority of participants agreed with 7 out of 8 reasons for regulation. When all reasons to regulate or not were included in a final multivariable model, beliefs about protecting people from secondhand vapor and protecting youth from trying e-cigarettes significantly predicted stronger support for e-cigarette restricting policies, whereas concern about government intrusion into individual choices was associated with reduced support. DISCUSSION: This research identifies key beliefs that may underlie public support or opposition to policies designed to regulate the marketing and use of e-cigarettes. Advocates on both sides of the issue may find this research valuable in developing strategic campaigns related to the issue. IMPLICATIONS: Specific beliefs of potential benefits and costs of e-cigarette regulation (protecting youth, preventing exposure to secondhand vapor, and government intrusion into individual choices) may be effectively deployed by policy makers or health advocates in communicating with the public.