A law prohibiting the use of electronic cigarettes in public places is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 15.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, the law prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in the same public places, such as restaurants, playgrounds and beaches, where smoking is banned.

“This is a matter of public health,” McCabe said in a news release issued Wednesday. “By restricting the use of electronic cigarettes in the same places and areas that we do regular cigarettes, we are preventing children, our seniors and those who are sensitive to smoke and vapor from discomfort and potential harm.”

An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a nicotine delivery system that uses a battery-powered vaporizer to turn liquid containing nicotine into vapor.

The new law includes e-cigarettes in the definition of smoking for the purpose of restrictions in public places, according to the release.

Restaurants and bars in Maine have been smoke-free since 2004, and outdoor dining areas, beaches, playgrounds and other gathering areas in state parks have been smoke-free since 2009.

“Maine businesses want clear and predictable regulations,” McCabe said. “This law adds clarity for business owners and the public.”

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