Poll: Michigan Voters Strongly… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Poll: Michigan Voters Strongly Support Ending Flavored Tobacco Sales, Increasing Tobacco Tax & Other Efforts to Protect Michigan Kids

Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention Package Introduced This Week
November 13, 2023

LANSING – By a nearly 40-point margin (67% to 28%), Michigan voters strongly support a comprehensive bill package to reduce tobacco use among kids, including ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, according to a poll released today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Tobacco-Free Kids and MIAAP lead the Keep MI Kids Tobacco Free Alliance, a coalition of more than 120 groups working to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco.

“This poll demonstrates the overwhelming, bipartisan public support for our lawmakers to take bold action to stop the tobacco industry from targeting our kids with flavored products, reverse the crisis of youth e-cigarette use, and pass strong tobacco prevention policies this session,” said Jodi Radke, regional advocacy director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and co-chair of the Keep MI Kids Tobacco Free Alliance. “We appreciate the commitment and leadership of Senator Singh and the other bill sponsors for taking on these important issues.”

The poll found that Michigan voters strongly support a comprehensive legislative package of tobacco prevention policies that were introduced this week, including:

  • Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol-flavored cigarettes. (Senate Bills 649 and 650, Cherry)
  • Requiring tobacco retailers to be licensed, just like liquor retailers, so the state can enforce laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. (SBs 651 and 652, Singh)
  • Taxing e-cigarettes and vaping products containing nicotine for the first time and increasing tobacco taxes with proceeds used to reduce tobacco use among youth. (SB 648, Chang)
  • Allowing local counties and cities to enact tougher restrictions on tobacco sales within their own community. (SB 647, Shink)
  • Repealing ineffective penalties that punish kids for tobacco purchase, use and possession. (SB 654, Wojno and SB 653, Cavanagh)

The poll found strong support for this policy package across political lines, including from voters who identify as strong Democrats (78%), lean Democrats (71%), strong Republicans (60%), lean Republicans (62%) and Independents (64%). Support is also widespread across geographic and demographic groups, including in Metro Detroit (68%) and outstate (67%), from men (62%) and women (73%), White (67%) and Black (74%) voters, and across age groups.

“It’s time to put our kids first and enact comprehensive tobacco prevention policies to create the first tobacco-free generation with a healthier future ahead,” said Dr. Brittany Tayler, internist and pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center, assistant professor at the Pediatric Public Health Initiative at Michigan State University and co-chair of Keep MI Kids Tobacco Free Alliance. “Enacting strong policies will especially benefit those communities that have been historically targeted by the tobacco industry including youth and Black Americans. We are very encouraged by these polling results and are ready to work with the Legislature to put these prevention policies in place.”

By a 2 to 1 margin (65% to 29%), Michigan voters believe protecting another generation of children from addiction to flavored tobacco is more important than protecting adults’ rights to purchase flavored tobacco. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Michigan and across the nation. In Michigan, tobacco use claims 16,200 lives and costs the state $5.3 billion in health care costs each year. Currently, 15.2% of Michigan adults smoke cigarettes, while 14% of the state’s high school students use e-cigarettes.

New data demonstrate that more action is needed to curb youth tobacco use. Results from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) released last week show that 2.1 million middle and high school students are using e-cigarettes. Many e-cigarettes contain as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes or more. The new survey also clearly demonstrates that flavored products are driving youth use. Nearly 90% of youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products, up from 85% a year ago. Other research shows that 8 out of 10 kids who use tobacco started with a flavored product.

Tobacco companies have also intentionally targeted Black Americans and other communities for decades with marketing for menthol-flavored cigarettes, which are more addictive, easier for kids to start smoking, and harder for smokers to quit. Menthol cigarettes cause devastating and disproportionate harm to the health of Black Americans, who die at higher rates from tobacco-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke.

“Enough is enough. We cannot let Big Tobacco addict another generation of our kids. Our state laws are out of date and out of touch with what Michigan residents want and need to protect youth and advance racial and health equity,” said Minou Jones, founder of Making It Count and chair of the Detroit Wayne Oakland Tobacco-Free Coalition. “Coalitions in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Newaygo and other communities across the state are ready to help push this life-saving legislation over the finish line. We look forward to working with lawmakers from all corners of the state to end flavored tobacco sales, hold retailers accountable and put the health of all Michiganders ahead of tobacco industry profits.”

The poll also found strong support for key individual tobacco prevention policies including:

  • 59% supporting ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including support from 68% of Black voters;
  • 63% support increase the state tobacco tax by $1.50 with the money used to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children;
  • 81% support taxing e-cigarettes and vaping products containing nicotine at the same rate as cigarettes;
  • 76% support requiring tobacco retailers to be licensed;
  • 69% support removing criminal penalties for those under 21 who possess, purchase or use tobacco and instead licensing retailers and holding them accountable for selling tobacco to underage customers.

The poll was conducted by The Glengariff Group and comprised a survey of 800 likely November 2024 voters interviewed by telephone (cell phone and landline) July 31-August 5, 2023. The margin of error is +/-3.5% with a 95% level of confidence.

About the Keep MI Kids Tobacco Free Alliance

The Keep MI Kids Tobacco Free Alliance is a coalition of more than 120 public health, community organizations, school groups and other community groups advocating for stronger tobacco policy and prevention in Michigan. Learn more about the Alliance at KeepMIKidsTobaccoFree.com.