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January 10, 2020

Analysis of the vapor industry in Mississippi, including economic data, state health department findings on vaping-related lung illnesses, youth e-cigarette use, tobacco retail compliance checks, and state funding dedicated to tobacco control programs.

PTS-Mississippi: News

Since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, e-cigarettes and vaping devices—tobacco harm reduction products that are 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes—have helped more than three million American adults quit smoking.

1. Economic Impact
According to the Vapor Technology Association, in 2018, the industry created 963 direct vaping-related jobs, including manufacturing, retail, and wholesale jobs in Mississippi, which generated $19 million in wages alone.[1] Moreover, the industry has created hundreds of secondary jobs in the Magnolia State, bringing the total economic impact in 2018 to $169,923,900. In the same year, Mississippi received more than $12 million in state taxes attributable to the vaping industry. These figures do not include sales in convenience stores, which sell vapor products including disposables and prefilled cartridges. In 2016, sales of these products in Mississippi eclipsed $4.3 million.[2]

2. State Health Department Data
As of November 26, 2019, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has reported 11 confirmed and probable cases of vaping-related lung illnesses.[3] All patients are over the age of 18 and 73 percent are male. Further, 73 percent report using vaping devices containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and/or cannabidiol (CBD). The Heartland Institute gives MSDH a grade of A for information available on vaping-related lung illnesses.

3. More Information Needed
The most recent report on youth e-cigarette use in Mississippi is from the 2019 Mississippi Youth Tobacco Survey.[4] According to the results, in 2018, only 6.6 percent of Mississippi high school students reported using vapor products “on at least 20 of the past 30 days” prior to the survey. Further, 62 percent of respondents reported never having tried an e-cigarette or vaping device. More data is needed to understand the effects of public health campaigns on youth e-cigarette use.  

4. Youth Sales Miniscule
From January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administered 6,058 tobacco age compliance inspections in Mississippi, in which the agency used a minor in an attempt to purchase tobacco products.[5] Of those, 474 or 8 percent, resulted in a sale to a minor. Of the violations, 154 (32 percent of violations and 2 percent of all compliance checks) involved the sale of e-cigarettes or vaping devices. The number of violations involving sales of cigars and cigarettes were 138 and 171, respectively, during the same period.

5. Misspent Money
In 2019, Mississippi received an estimated $248.8 million in tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments. In the same year, the state spent only $8.4 million, or 3 percent, on funding tobacco control programs, including education and prevention.[6]

Policy Solution
Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices have proven to be tremendous tobacco harm reduction tools, helping many smokers transition away from combustible cigarettes. Despite recent fearmongering, their use is significantly safer than traditional cigarettes, as noted by numerous public health groups including the Royal College of Physicians,[7] Public Health England,[8] and the American Cancer Society.[9] Rather than restricting their use, and undoubtedly reducing public health gains and millions of dollars in economic output, lawmakers should dedicate existing tobacco funds on programs that actually reduce youth use.

Key Points:

1. Mississippi’s vaping industry provided more than $169 million in economic activity in 2018 while generating 963 direct vaping-related jobs. Sales of disposables and prefilled cartridges in Mississippi exceeded $4.3 million in 2016.

2. As of November 26, 2019, MSDH has reported 11 cases of vaping-related lung illness. MSDH notes that 73 percent of patients reported vaping THC and/or CBD vaping products. MSDH earns an A for its reporting on vaping-related lung illnesses.

3. In 2018, 6.6 percent of Mississippi high school students reported using vapor products on 20 or more days, while 62 percent reported never trying vapor products. More data is needed.  

4. Only 2 percent of FDA retail compliance checks in Mississippi resulted in sales of e-cigarettes to minors from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

5. Mississippi spends very little on tobacco prevention. In 2019, Mississippi dedicated only $8.4 million on tobacco control, or 3 percent of what the state received in tobacco settlement payments and taxes.


[1] Vapor Technology Association, “The Economic Impact of the Vapor Industry MISSISSIPPI,” 2019,

[2] Teresa W. Wang et al., “National and State-Specific Unit Sales and Prices for Electronic Cigarettes, United States, 2012-2016,” Preventing Chronic Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 2, 2018,

[3] Mississippi State Department of Health, “Mississippi Outbreak Information: Vaping-Related Lung Illness,” November 26, 2019,,0,418.html. Accessed January 9, 2020.

[4] Nell Valentine, MS and Robert McMillen, PhD., “The Mississippi Youth Tobacco Survey,” Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, 2019,

[5] U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Compliance Check Inspections of Tobacco Product Retailers,” September 30, 2019,

[6] Truth Initiative, “Tobacco use in Mississippi,” June 28, 2019,

[7] Royal College of Physicians, Nicotine without Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction, April 2016,

[8] A. McNeill et al., “Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018,” Public Health England, February 2018,

[9] The American Cancer Society, “What Do We Know About E-Cigarettes?” June 19, 2019,

For more information, please refer to:

Tobacco Harm Reduction 101: A Guidebook for Policymakers
This booklet from The Heartland Institute aims to inform key stakeholders on the much-needed information on the benefits of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. Tobacco Harm Reduction 101 details the history of e-cigarettes, including regulatory actions on these products. The booklet also explains the role of nicotine, addresses tax policy and debunks many of the myths associated with e-cigarettes, including assertions about “popcorn lung,” formaldehyde, and the so-called youth vaping epidemic.

PTS-Mississippi: Text
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