Health

Most adult Kentuckians believe e-cigarettes should be taxed similarly to regular cigarettes, according to poll results released Thursday.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that 53 percent of respondents favor an excise tax on e-cigarettes.

The poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health, formerly the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. (The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is part of the partnership for WFPL’s Next Louisville: Community Health project.)

Currently, e-cigarettes are only subject to the state’s sales tax.

Traditional cigarettes carry a 60-cent excise tax and sales tax. Kentucky ranks 40th out of all state excise tax rates on cigarettes, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

The strongest support for an excise tax on e-cigarettes came in Lexington, where 61 percent of respondents supported the idea, according to the poll. In October, the Lexington Urban County Council’s General Government Committee voted to add e-cigarettes to a 2003 citywide smoking ban.

The majority of  people in other parts of the state also support taxing e-cigarettes like regular cigarettes.

But 32 percent of people who use e-cigarettes were less likely to favor an excise tax.

E-cigarette use is most common among people who live in Louisville and Western Kentucky, the poll said. Fewer than one in six Kentucky adults reported using e-cigarettes.

The poll also found that e-cigarette use is most common among young adults, with 41 percent of people ages 18 to 29 having used the device.

The Food and Drug Administration does not currently regulate e-cigarettes, but 61 percent of Kentucky adults believe the agency should regulate the sale and marketing of electronic cigarettes. Nearly 60 percent of e-cigarette users said that the FDA should regulate e-cigarettes.

The poll was conducted between Oct.  8 and Nov. 6. Researchers from the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati interviewed 1,597 adults throughout Kentucky by telephone.