As part of Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air Act, smoking electronic cigarettes may soon be banned indoors in public places, along with their tobacco-based counterparts.

The bill, introduced by Delegate Aruna Miller, D-Montgomery, is the latest state effort to improve public health, and was presented Wednesday, Feb. 11, at a hearing for the state House Economic Matters Committee.

Miller also explained that electronic cigarettes are not yet approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which could have negative effects on users’ health. Even though there is no conclusive evidence, Miller explained that “We need to err on the side of public health until all the evidence comes out.”

The devices are also becoming popular among youth, despite the fact that they are only legal to sell to adults 18 and older. They also come in flavors that tend to attract a younger crowd, such as fruit, coffee, mint, and candy flavors like gummy bears and Skittles.

Part of the controversy also comes from the ingredients in the e liquid besides the flavor. These solutions contain a mix of flavoring, nicotine and usually propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin.

Once the device heats up with the use of a battery, the vapor is produced. But not enough is yet known about the health effects of this substance or the secondhand vapors.

One recent study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, however, has pointed to the possibility that e cigs are just as harmful or as tobacco cigarettes. The study was published early this February and showed that mice exposed to vapor from electronic cigarettes had damage to their lungs and immune systems and had increased likelihood of contracting a respiratory disease. About 20% of the animals the vapors were tested on ended up dying, as a result of the exposure to the vapor and the disease.

Lawmakers also acknowledge that the nature of these devices has changed over the years. What used to be a single-serve device only now contains e liquids and other components, which can be sold separately and are often available to minors.

The Clean Indoor Air Act passed in Maryland in 2007 to prohibit smoking in bars, restaurants, schools, government buildings, and other indoor public places.

Miller hopes the amendment to the Act will include vaping, or use of e cigs, but will exempt smoke shops and lounges.

Just three states so far have banned vaping in public: New Jersey, North Dakota and Utah.