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Rutgers-Eagleton Poll reveals tobacco usage trends and public opinion on smoking

Cigarettes are the most used product among current tobacco users; more than half of respondents support a New Jersey ban on menthol cigarettes

NEW JERSEY – Despite strong tobacco control laws in New Jersey that prevent smoking in a majority of public places, ban sales of flavored tobacco products and offer cessation services through insurance, residents continue using other tobacco products and underutilizing resources to aid in quitting.

A spring Rutgers-Eagleton Poll conducted by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, part of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, on behalf of Tobacco Free for a Healthy New Jersey (TFHNJ) sheds light on critical aspects of tobacco usage, including most used products and resources used to quit as well as opinions on cannabis smoking.

Fifty-three percent of New Jerseyans have never used a tobacco product; another 15 percent, on the other hand, use tobacco products, while 31 percent don’t currently but have used them in the past. Cigarettes (62 percent) were the most used tobacco product among current users, with e-cigarettes or vapes next (34 percent), then cigars (25 percent) and hookah (10 percent).

“This survey of New Jerseyans offers crucial insights into tobacco usage trends, the usage of different cessation resources, and public attitudes towards cannabis smoking in New Jersey,” said Ashley Smith, TFHNJ program supervisor. “The findings will inform our efforts to promote tobacco-free lifestyles, implement effective smoking cessation programs, and advance evidence-based strategies related to tobacco control and public smoking in the state.”

Among those who don’t use tobacco products but have previously, 17 percent reported using nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to help quit, 7 percent reported using a cessation or quit smoking program, 6 percent reported using prescription medication and 1 percent reported use of a nicotine spray or inhaler. While e-cigarettes aren’t an approved cessation product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 8 percent reported using them to quit smoking.

The marketing and advertising of menthol cigarettes has been shown to disproportionately target Black communities, resulting in higher usage rates. While 55 percent of all respondents support a statewide ban on menthol cigarettes, Black respondents (64 percent) are more inclined to support a ban compared with white respondents (54 percent).

New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act prohibits tobacco smoking in public places, while New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act prohibits smoking cannabis products in any public place prohibited by the Smoke-Free Air Act.

When asked about allowing cannabis smoking in public places, most respondents opposed the idea of smoking in public places in general (70 percent) and at workplaces (92 percent), beaches (66 percent), college campuses (66 percent) and parks (65 percent).

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,002 adults contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cellphones from April 27 to May 5. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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