Analysis: how the political tide has turned against vaping
When we think of politics, we often think of legislative and executive powers. After all, nothing gets the juices flowing better than an election, whether presidential or congressional.
This year, we were reminded in a big way that the judiciary also plays a major role in our way of life. But it’s not just on the landmark issues of abortion and guns that the courts are helping to draw the lines of what’s acceptable and what’s not.
This week, Juul paid over $400 million to settle a lawsuit involving more than 30 states that dealt with the company’s marketing of e-cigarettes (or vaping) to Americans under 18.
The proliferation of vaping, especially among teens and young adults, and the backlash against it are the starting point for our look at the political week that has taken place.
A few weeks ago, I saw the proliferation of smoke shops in my native New York. Some of this has to do with marijuana (more on that in a minute), but it also has to do with vaping.
But while vaping is much more popular among young Americans than a decade ago, the numerous anti-vaping campaigns by public health officials may work. The fact is that while supporting the legalization of marijuana can be a winning political issue, the reverse may be true for vaping.
Take a look at the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost a third of high school students in 2021 (29%) said they had tried vaping nicotine. More than 1 in 10 (11%) admitted to having done so in the past month.
Back in 2011, only 2% of all high school students said they had vaped in the past 30 days. It may seem like a massive leap, but it also hides a massive decline.
Teen vaping has grown rapidly for much of the past decade. This peaked in 2019 with 28% of high school students reporting having vaped in the past month. This figure fell to 20% in 2020 and to 11% last year. This is a dramatic drop and well beyond any margin of error.
Keep in mind that barely 2% of high school students regularly smoke tobacco cigarettes. It’s not like these students just switch from one nicotine product to another.
Vaping among all adults appears to have remained fairly stable over the past few years. The latest Gallup poll found that 8% of adults vaped, which is the same as in 2019.
As with marijuana, there is a major age gap when it comes to vaping. Only 1% of Americans age 55 and older said they had vaped in the past week. This climbs to 19% among adults aged 18 to 34.
Yet young adults are much more likely to smoke marijuana (30%) than to vape (19%) regularly.
This is reflected in American habits in general. The latest Gallup poll shows that Americans are twice as likely to regularly smoke marijuana at least once a week (16%) than to vape (8%).
And while vaping hasn’t shown any real increase in popularity in recent years, more people are smoking marijuana regularly than ever before.
We can see this dynamic playing out at the ballot box and through the actions of politicians. Nineteen states have legalized recreational marijuana over the past decade, and legalization measures are on the ballot in several states this year. About two-thirds of Americans think marijuana should be legal.
Prominent lawmakers or former lawmakers are fighting to legalize marijuana, including former Speaker of the House John Boehnera Republican from Ohio.
On the other side, over 30 states have just sued arguably the biggest e-cigarette maker for advertising to teens.
When asked by Gallup whether anti-vaping laws should be made stricter, less strict, or stay the same, 61% of Americans said stricter. This position was supported by a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents. He was also backed by a majority of all age groups broken down by Gallup (18-34, 35-54 and 55+).
The simple fact is that promoting marijuana is a winning issue for politicians, but vaping really isn’t.
Speaking of places where marijuana is legal, New Hampshire is holding its primary on Tuesday. And along with those of Delaware and Rhode Island, these are the last partisan midterm primaries of 2022. (Louisiana will hold nonpartisan general primaries on Election Day.)
The fact that New Hampshire’s primary is so late shouldn’t minimize its midterm significance. We can get a good idea of the outcome of the battle for the Senate based on what is happening in New Hampshire.
Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is trying to win a second term. It’s unclear who his GOP opponent will be at this point, though the two most likely candidates are the retired Army brig. General Don Bolduc and State Senate Chairman Chuck Morse.
Morse sports Governor Chris Sununu’s endorsement and is widely considered more eligible statewide than Bolduc, who has promoted false belief that President Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election.
If Bolduc wins, the race could join other contests where Republicans appear to have reduced their chances of winning the general election by nominating a weaker candidate.
If Morse wins, New Hampshire could become a real pick-up opportunity for Republicans. The limited (and especially old) polling data made public has the race within 5 points with Morse as the GOP nominee.
According data compiled by David Byler of the Washington Post, any aggregate of Senate polls at that time would be off by more than 5 points on average. In other words, Morse has a real chance of winning if he is the GOP nominee.
In fact, Morse votes as well as, if not better than, nearly all Republican Senate candidates in a marquee race (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, etc.). You just don’t hear about New Hampshire as often, partly because it’s not polled as often.
You can bet we’ll find out more about New Hampshire if Morse wins. Republicans would be foolish not to press hard in a state where Hassan and Hillary Clinton both won by less than a point in 2016.
There’s so much depressing news in the world these days, enough to make you want to tune out. That’s why for football fans, like me, the start of the football season is so important.
Many Americans feel the same. Football was the most popular sport to watch more than five decades nowand there is no stopping sign.
According to a Washington Post Poll released earlier this year, 36% of Americans said football was their favorite sport to watch. No other sport exceeded 12%. Two-thirds (67%) said they were football fans.
And at a time of political division, football was the sport of choice for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Afghans are the most unhappy: A study recently published by Gallup found that residents of Afghanistan had the worst emotional health. They were attended by residents of Lebanon, Iraq and Sierra Leone.
Payment apps are popular: A new survey from the Pew Research Center found that 76% of Americans have used Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. PayPal was the most popular, with 57% using it.
Positive opinions on the fall of the corporate sector in the United States: Only 36% of Americans on average have a positive view of 25 business and industry sectors. This is the lowest since 2008, according to Gallup. Positive opinions are highest for the restaurant industry (60%) and lowest for oil and gas (22%).