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For most Americans, smoking safely means putting down the nicotine and picking up the green.
According to a new poll from Harvard University and Politico, a majority of Americans view both traditional cigarettes and their nicotine-filled vape replacements as significantly more harmful to a user’s health than cannabis.
The survey, which polled 1,009 American adults via telephone and broke down demographics by political affiliation, found that more than 80% of respondents considered cigarettes “very harmful,” while nearly 50% said the same thing about “electronic or e-cigarettes.” Conversely, only 26% of survey-takers considered cannabis as dangerous.
Over the past decade, American’s attitudes about cannabis have relaxed significantly, while cigarettes have been taxed, banned, and stigmatized more than ever before. For their part, e-cigarette nicotine vaporizers have begun to gain a more sinister reputation, with huge increases in teen consumption, and a spat of recent vape-related hospitalizations putting parents and consumer advocates on high alert.
In the Harvard study, researchers found that about two thirds of respondents felt like e-cigarettes were an ineffective tool to help cigarette smokers kick their habit, and more than half said that the FDA should ban flavored e-cigarette products. Furthermore, more than 60% of respondents agreed that the purchasing age for e-cigarettes should be moved from 18 to 21, and that those products should be taxed at the same rate as traditional cigarettes.
The new research supports other recent studies reporting a significant cultural shift in the acceptance of nicotine and cannabis. In a July Gallup poll, consumption statistics suggested that Americans could soon be puffing cannabis at a rate higher than both traditional cigarettes or e-cigs. And with last year’s hemp legalization bringing CBD pre-rolls to head shops and health stores across the country, it’s possible that hemp and cannabis could overtake tobacco and nicotine as America’s favorite smoke even sooner than expected.
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