A new poll of Americans ages 18 to 64 finds that a majority (53%) believe that the federal government should continue to regulate tobacco, while 43% think that the time has come for states to do so.
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the National Association of State Boards of Tobacco Control (NASBTC), also finds that the percentage of Americans who believe states should be allowed to legalize and regulate tobacco has jumped by 11 points since 2015.
This is good news for states and the tobacco industry, as it shows that the public believes that states can and should do more to regulate the sale and distribution of tobacco products, especially in states where states have more experience.
The NASBTC survey also found that support for tobacco regulation has also risen in the states with the least experience with the industry.
A majority (57%) of adults who are either less than or equal to 50 years old support the federal ban on tobacco products being applied to younger people, and 52% of adults aged 18 to 34 support a similar ban.
However, support for such a ban has fallen among the 18 to 54 age group, and by an even larger margin.
The only demographic group in which support for a nationwide ban on all tobacco products has remained relatively steady is among seniors.
A full 60% of seniors support a nationwide nationwide ban, while only 27% oppose it.
The NASBtc poll also finds, as expected, that Americans who are more affluent and white are more supportive of states’ ability to regulate their own tobacco markets, with a majority of whites (55%) and those in the top quintile (61%) supporting a nationwide prohibition.
However to be sure, white respondents are the only demographic in which the vast majority (69%) of whites favor a nationwide tobacco ban.
Similarly, only 30% of those who live in rural areas support a national ban.
Support for states’ right to decide on how to regulate and sell tobacco has also been rising among Republicans and Tea Party voters.
In addition, the poll finds that more than seven in 10 Republicans support states’ rights to regulate or sell tobacco products.
The same percentage of Tea Party respondents support states regulating their own markets, but just a slight majority (56%) support a statewide ban.
The survey also finds support for states ability to establish tobacco-specific regulations (57%).
However, only 35% of Tea Partiers support a nationally banned ban, and only 27%, the lowest number in the past year, think that states should have the right to set their own regulations.
The poll also found a majority in both the White House and Congress (60%) favor allowing states to regulate, with Republicans in Congress being more supportive than Democrats (54% vs. 37%).
A majority of Americans (56% in both chambers) also support states having the ability to set tobacco-related regulations (56%).
Support for a national tobacco ban has increased among whites, while among those with less education (51%) and with a household income below $75,000 (46%), support has also grown among Republicans, who are now a majority.
The Pew Research Center found that Republicans now back a nationwide smoking ban by a large margin (76%), while Democrats and independents back a statewide banning (61%).