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1 in 4 Ohio adults have tried an e-cigarette; most favor taxing them

Nov 9, 2018

Download the report here and the data tables here

The Ohio Health Issues Poll (OHIP) is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of Ohio adults. In 2018, OHIP asked Ohio adults several questions about electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. As OHIP described to participants, electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are batterypowered devices used to inhale vaporized liquid. The vaporized liquid often contains nicotine, and some have flavorings and other ingredients. Users of e-cigarettes sometimes refer to the activity as “vaping,” as opposed to smoking.

What did OHIP find?

OHIP asked Ohio adults if they had ever used an e-cigarette. Just more than 2 in 10 Ohio adults (23%) reported that they had tried an e-cigarette. This is slightly lower than in 2017 (28%) but about the same as in 2015 and 2016. OHIP results are higher than the national percentage. The 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that 14% of U.S. adults had used an e-cigarette.1

Younger adults are more likely to have tried an e-cigarette

Responses to this question varied by age. Nearly half of Ohio adults ages 18 to 29 (45%) have tried an e-cigarette. That compares with only 7% of Ohio adults ages 65 and older.

Among adults who have tried a vaping product, 3 in 10 use regularly 

OHIP asked adults who had ever tried an electronic cigarette, “Do you now use e-cigarettes or other electronic ‘vaping’ products every day, some days or not at all?” Among the Ohio adults who have ever tried a vaping product, 3 in 10 (30%) currently use them every day or some days. This is higher than the national percentage. The 2017 NHIS found that among U.S. adults who have ever tried an e-cigarette, 19% use them every day or some days.

Most Ohio adults favor excise tax for e-cigarettes regardless of political party

OHIP asked, “The State of Ohio currently places BOTH a sales tax and a $1.60 per pack excise tax on the sale of cigarettes. E-cigarettes are ONLY subject to sales tax. Do you favor or oppose the State of Ohio placing an excise tax on the sale of e-cigarettes so that e-cigarettes are taxed at a rate similar to a pack of cigarettes?”

Nearly 6 in 10 Ohio adults (56%) favor Ohio placing an excise tax on e-cigarettes. This has not changed since the question was first asked in 2015.  About 6 in 10 Democrats (61%) and Republicans (56%) favor placing an excise tax on e-cigarettes. Just fewer than 5 in 10 Independents (45%) favor an excise tax.

Why do we ask these questions?

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly as new brands and devices emerge.2 It is important to track e-cigarette use in order to understand how new products change the tobacco landscape. Rates of e-cigarette use are especially important to monitor because of the devices’ popularity among young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive substance that can harm brain development in children and adolescents. Use of e-cigarettes at a young age can lead to the use of other tobacco products, including traditional cigarettes.Additionally, tracking public opinion of policy issues, such as excise taxes, can inform policymakers and community members.

What's Happening Now?

In September 2018 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began to focus on e-cigarette sales to minors. In August 2016 the FDA banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 18.4 During the summer of 2018 the FDA sent warning letters and issued fines to more than 1,000 stores nationwide that had been selling e-cigarette products to minors. On Sept. 12 the FDA also sent letters to five major e-cigarette manufacturers, giving them 60 days to address youth access to their products.5 This is all part of the FDA’s Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign called “The Real Cost.” The campaign aims to educate youth about the potential harms of vaping. The FDA hopes to achieve this using online video, social media ads and promotional materials in schools. To learn more about this campaign, please visit https://bit.ly/2Qn760n.


1. National Center for Health Statistics. (2018, June 26). 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Sample Adult Public Use File (samadult). Retrieved from: ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/Dataset_Documentation/NHIS/2017/samadult_freq.pdf.

2. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Laura Bach. (2018, August 21). Juul and Youth: Rising ECigarette Popularity. Retrieved from: https://www.
tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0394.pdf.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, October 23). Smoking & Tobacco Use, About Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes). Retrieved
from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html.

4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2016, May 5). FDA News Release – FDA takes significant steps to protect Americans from dangers of tobacco
through new regulation. Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm499234.htm.

5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, September 18). FDA News Release – FDA launches new, comprehensive campaign to warn kids about
the dangers of e-cigarette use as part of agency’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, amid evidence of sharply rising use among kids. Retrieved from:
https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm620788.htm.

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