Buy cigarettes online, chew tobacco alternatives and other tobacco products, and you might as well get a pipe, according to a recent survey of Americans by Consumer Reports.
And the study’s authors found that while most people in the survey said they’d prefer to not smoke, nearly half of those who said they were not sure if they would have an alternative to cigarettes were also unsure if they’d buy tobacco products.
The survey found that most respondents said they wanted to try to quit, but the majority of them didn’t want to go out and spend $1,500 on a new cigarette because they were worried that the product would make them feel bad.
And when it comes to tobacco products other than cigarettes, a third of Americans said they had not tried a flavored tobacco product, including some who said it would make their nicotine intake worse.
“Most people said they did not want to spend money on a tobacco product other than tobacco,” said the report’s co-author, Sam Levin, a research scientist at Consumer Reports who co-authored the survey with consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
“In some cases, people didn’t know what to do.”
“If we’re going to have a healthy society, we’ve got to reduce the health costs associated with tobacco consumption,” Levin added.
“I think this survey, the ones we’re seeing, is a really valuable way to understand that.”
The survey also found that only a minority of Americans knew how to use a nicotine replacement product like e-cigarettes, and only about a third could identify the type of product they use.
More broadly, the report found that just 1 in 3 Americans said that they’d try a tobacco alternative, and that number dropped to 0.5 percent among those who were unsure.
Americans have also been using alternative methods of tobacco control.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the Tobacco Control Strategy to identify, evaluate and support efforts to reduce tobacco use.
That strategy, which has been updated to include new initiatives, aims to educate consumers, promote safer smoking practices, and improve access to cessation services.
But many Americans are still reluctant to try a different tobacco product because they’re afraid of being called a nicotine addict.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 52 percent of Americans believed that tobacco use was “probably the most serious public health problem facing the country” and that cigarette smoking was “the single most important cause of cancer and heart disease in the United States.”